August 29, 1920 – December 3, 2022
The journey of 102 years came to a peaceful finale on December 3, 2022. In her own words, “..and there she went, answering a call she couldn’t refuse for first class travel to her final destination.”
Kathrine Elizabeth Towner was born on August 29, 1920 in Lincoln, Nebraska, the oldest child of Fred and Lillian Towner, her sister Margaret joined the family in 1922. The family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all moved to Washington State in 1925, some settled in Seattle, others in Auburn. A sister Winifred arrived in 1926 and later they were joined by brother Mac in 1932.
The Towner family had a large presence in the Auburn community, establishing Modern Cleaners in 1926, which operated until 1961. Father Fred was on the city council, volunteer fire department and the American Legion. Mother Lillian, while raising 4 children, was also involved in the White River Presbyterian Church as well as the American Legion Auxiliary. Community service was an important part of family life.
Kathrine graduated from Auburn High School in 1937 and attended the University of Washington for one year.
In April of 1942, she married Auburn native Bill Hansen. After Bill returned from service in the Pacific during World War II, they moved to the San Francisco Bay area, purchasing a home and small grocery store. Daughter Margaret was born in Palo Alto and Tina in Redwood City.
In 1955, they returned to the Northwest, purchasing a grocery store in Leavenworth, Washington. They left Leavenworth in 1960 returning to Auburn after selling the store to former Auburn grocer, Roy Dahlgren,
In 1961, the family moved to Bermuda, enjoying the semi-tropical climate and lovely beaches. They returned to Auburn in July 1962.
Kathrine worked at Nicholson Manufacturing and then for 14 years at Rohr Industries. Retiring from Rohr in 1977, she started working at Love Travel, the agency she and Bill purchased from Perry B. Love in 1965. Daughter Margaret had joined the firm in May 1971, so this became a true family business. Kathrine and Bill traveled frequently seeing as much of the world as possible. For her 80th birthday she chartered a barge in France, taking a group of family and clients, and thus began a 19-year odyssey of Love Travel group trips. She retired in 2017 when Love Travel became a home-based agency, and the agency retired in 2022.
Kathrine gave her time to the community though St. Matthew Episcopal Church, where she was the first woman elected to the Bishop’s Committee, promoting the Friend to Friend program which advocates for those living in nursing communities with no advocate of their own, tenure on the White River Valley Museum board, the Downtown Auburn Association board, received the Chamber Community Service award in 1984 and was on the Hometown Hero committee for the City of Auburn, a committee she strongly believed in.
In 2007 she moved to Wesley Homes Lea Hill and found a wonderful community of new friends. She made another move in 2021to Renton to be closer to her daughter.
Kathrine was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, and her husband Bill in 1991. She is survived by her daughters Margaret (Frank Rasmussen), and Tina (Scott Simmons), her nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.
Donations in memory of Kathrine can be directed to the Auburn Food Bank, the Green River College Foundation, Chapter GN, PEO, the White River Valley Museum or a charity of choice to benefit the Auburn community.
A celebration of Life will be held at a later date in 2023.