We are very sad to announce that the founder of the Skagit Aero Education Museum, Harold Hanson, passed away on October 17, 2010. He was born in Salem, Oregon on 1/17/1929.
Mr. Hanson had been living in the Puget Sound region of Washington for decades when he landed at the Concrete Airport in 1998 and immediately saw the potential of the beautiful natural surroundings. On that first trip he knew what he wanted to do, create a museum and a destination for pilots and aviation enthusiasts who enjoyed aircraft as much as he did.
In 1999 he began collecting some of the small, post World War II trainers he had always admired and in 2000 he began building his first hangar. Mr. Hanson started planting grass around his hangar and added two more buildings in 2001 and 2004 (and a lot more grass for a nice place to park airplanes on a summer day).
With a small, but growing collection of aircraft, Mr. Hanson founded the Skagit Aero Education Museum with the dream of creating a place where younger aviation enthusiasts could learn about flying and airplanes, and older pilots and enthusiasts could find the same beauty in flying and airplanes as he did. In his later years as he flew the airplanes less and less, he was often fond of saying, “they’re like art, I get my money’s worth just looking at them.”
Over the past decade, the museum collection has grown in size. In recent years, plans have been developed to further Mr. Hanson’s dream of putting together a complete museum facility and we are in the process of moving forward with these new ideas.
The Skagit Aero Education Museum will continue the mission of its founder into the future. We will miss Harold very much and hope he will be able to keep an eye on us as we work to fulfill his dream of building a place where pilots and airplane fans can come to learn about aviation, see and touch the airplanes and of course, go flying.
A memorial service will be held in Monroe on November 13 and a celebration of Harold Hanson’s life and love of aviation will be held at the museum in Concrete on November 20. More details will follow as they become available.