Dr. George G. Hansen

Dr. George G. Hansen, a retired dentist and master woodworker, died April 11 of pneumonia at Oak Crest Village retirement community. He was 89.

The son of educators, Dr. Hansen was born in Baltimore and raised in Towson. He spent his boyhood summers at a camp his parents owned and operated in Oakland, where he learned to ride horses, shoot, canoe, camp and do woodworking.

After graduating in 1941 from Polytechnic Institute, where his father taught physical education, he earned his degree in an accelerated class in 1946 from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.

He served in the Army Dental Corps from 1946 to 1948. While in the service, he met his future wife, the former Julia M. "Judy" Schwartz, an Army registered nurse, at Fort Knox, Ky.

"They first met during a softball game when she tagged him out at first. Then he kept getting on base so he could get to know her," said their daughter, Karen Montgomery, of Bethlehem, Pa.

The couple were married in 1948. After being discharged from the Army, Dr. Hansen and his wife purchased a general dental practice on Main Street in Ellicott City, next door to a firehouse.

Dr. Hansen was later president of the Ellicott City ambulance service and also served as a volunteer ambulance driver.

During a year at a school of orthodontics in New York City from 1959 to 1960, Dr. Hansen would come home by train on weekends to see his family.

He started to transition from general dentistry to orthodontics and relocated his practice to Silver Spring. In the early 1960s, he moved his family to a small farm in Ashton, Montgomery County, where he raised horses and goats.

In 1971, he moved his practice again to a home office in Rockville, where he worked until retiring in 1983.

"He always did all of his lab work, which is highly unusual, as most orthodontists employed technicians to do this or sent it out to labs," his daughter said. "He enjoyed working with his hands and spent two hours a day just working on braces."

Mrs. Montgomery said her father had an unusual way to bill patients for his services.

"He charged about half what many of my friends' orthodontists charged. His reasoning was that the IRS would end up taking it all if he went into a higher tax bracket, and if he charged reasonably, his clients would not get behind in their payments, which they rarely did," she said.

"We've been good friends since 1954, and he was just fantastic," said Bonnie Anthony of Barnesville in Montgomery County. "There are a lot of little things that I can say about George and Judy that mean a great deal to me. He and his wife have been our best friends.

"George was very talented artistically. He started doing stained glass in his retirement. I still have a piece he made for me and a cutting board. He was always giving away things he had made as gifts," she said. "He could do anything with his hands."

Mrs. Anthony described him as "very friendly and kind. He'd do most anything for everybody."

Dr. Hansen was also a woodworker who made furniture, including grandmother clocks.

After retiring, he and his wife purchased a motor home and toured the country. They wintered in Arizona at a retirement village for owners of motor homes, and it was there that Dr. Hansen learned to make silver and stone jewelry, as well as stained-glass pieces.

When the couple sold their motor home in 1999 and moved to Oak Crest Village in Parkville, Dr. Hansen joined other hobbyists to outfit a woodworking shop.

"Initially, they furnished it with equipment they had had at home. They eventually worked with the business office to identify people who listed woodworking as an interest on their Oak Crest applications," his daughter said. "They would interview these guys to learn what equipment they had. If it was nothing exceptional, they would ask if they would be willing to use the proceeds from selling it to help purchase new equipment for the shop.

"It eventually worked so well that my husband, who was a carpenter for 20 years, nearly had to wear a drool bib when he went near it," Mrs. Montgomery said with a laugh.

He earned several Oak Crest Service Awards for his work establishing the workshop.

Dr. Hansen consulted with John E. Erickson, CEO of Erickson Retirement Communities, which builds, develops and owns campus-style retirement communities across the nation, about designing wood shops in his communities.

"John asked Dad to come up with a design proposal for what he thought should be done," Mrs. Montgomery said. "He liked what he had designed and said that they would be used when setting up shops for new Erickson communities."

Mrs. Hansen died last year.

A memorial service will be held at noon Saturday in the chapel at Oak Crest Village, 8800 Walther Blvd.

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Hansen is survived by a son, David Hansen of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.; and many nieces and nephews.

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