With the wind and the sun And a vast mountain run Then just like an eagle, I’m free For my dreams are the things That give me my wings That make me an eagle and free.
~Kris Hansen from “Woodsmoke Song”
Shirley “Kris” Hansen passed away peacefully on Friday, February 22, 2019, in Lake Placid, New York. Born in Greenville, Michigan on August 5th, 1930, she was the daughter of Mable and Clarence Hansen. Kris earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University and spent many years teaching and coaching high school and college students in Health and Physical Education. Kris’s skills and achievements afforded her memberships in many organizations, among them, the Adirondack Mountain Club, the NYS Camp Director’s Association, and the National Riflery Association. She earned a 40 year award with the American Red Cross for her many Volunteer Services, and was awarded the title of “Professor Emeritus” at North Country Community College. Kris held many Board positions in Lake Placid including Chapter Chairman of the American Red Cross, President of the Shore Owner’s Association of Lake Placid and Chairperson on NYS Camp Safety Advisory Council. Kris loved music, nature, all outdoor activities, sailing, tennis and teaching so it was fitting that she would dedicate her life to conservation, athletics and the advocacy of children. Kris moved to Lake Placid, New York and was the program director for the Lake Placid Club from 1955-1957, she owned a summer camp in Maine for several years but when Kris was offered an opportunity to purchase property on Placid Lake in the quiet cove called Echo Bay at the foot of Whiteface Mountain, she embarked on what would be the highlight of her long career, owning and directing Camp Woodsmoke. Here, she thoughtfully and lovingly created the longest-running children’s camp in Lake Placid. In operation from 1964 to 2010, Woodsmoke was an oasis and safe haven for children across the world where they learned kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rowing, crafts, archery, swimming, the whole camp experience. Kris valued self-sufficiency and encouraged each child in her care to achieve their highest goals, whether in outdoorsmanship, sports, academics or personal success. As a testament to Kris’s tireless dedication, Woodsmoke had a long reputation of returning campers year after year for generations. Kris was persuasive and very generous in sharing her time and expertise at Camp and throughout her community. Kris is survived by her long-time partner, Jane Bacon, her cousins from Michigan, Roger and (Mary Lou) Olsen, Doug and (Anne) Olsen and their respective children, as well as by her many friends from Lake Placid and the surrounding area. In Kris’s honor and in lieu of sending flowers, kindly consider making a donation to the Tri-Lakes Humane Society or to your favorite local youth program.
The M. B. Clark, Inc. funeral home in Lake Placid, NY is in charge of arrangements. Relatives and friends are invited to share a memory or leave condolences at www.mbclarkfuneralhome.com .