Ib S. Hansen died on Sept. 14, 2014 at Carol Woods Retirement Community where he had lived since 2006. He was 91.
A naturalized citizen, Ib Hansen was born, raised, and educated in Copenhagen, Denmark. During the Nazi occupation of WWII Ib Hansen was a member of an underground resistance group. After the war he graduated from Denmark's Technical University (DTU) in 1946 with a Master of Science degree in Civil and in Structural Engineering. Following graduation Ib Hansen worked for two years as a surveyor for the Norwegian Government in its rebuilding of the war destroyed towns of northern Norway.
Ib Hansen immigrated to the US in 1948. He landed in New York with $70 in his pocket. He quickly found work as a structural engineer designing bridges. Among the many bridges he worked on was the Mackinac Strait Bridge in Michigan, which at the time had the longest suspended spans in the world, and the James River Bridge in Richmond, VA.
In 1950 Ib Hansen married Helen E. McNeil Hansen, daughter of District Attorney George E. McNeil and his wife Nellie Carr McNeil of Washington DC.
In 1960 he began work at The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (formerly named The David Taylor Model Basin). His 37 years at this institution constituted the major portion of his working life. He became a Supervisory Physicist in charge of the Protection and Weapon Effects Department. The analytical procedures developed during Ib Hansen's tenure were applied to all new ship designs.
The work also required Ib Hansen to make numerous briefings to top level admirals in the Pentagon, to the Fleet Commands, and to the Secretary of the Navy. Ib Hansen also gave lectures at the Navy Postgraduate Schools at MIT and Monterrey, CA.
In 1974, Ib S. Hansen and a colleague, Robert S. Price, provided input to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover's book "How the Battleship MAINE was Destroyed". They concluded that no mine hit the ship and thus the ship loss should not have been used to incite the Spanish-American war. That is now the official Navy position.
Ib Hansen retired in 1997 with a Superior Civilian Service Award, two Meritorious civilian Service Awards, and other awards. In retirement he wrote articles published in the Naval Institute Proceedings, the Naval Engineers Journal, and in the Naval History magazine.
Ib Hansen is survived by his wife Helen McNeil Hansen of Chapel Hill. He is survived by one daughter, Nellie I. Hansen of Chapel Hill, one grandson Patrick S. Benson, by Nellie's husband Ronald R. Benson of Chapel Hill, by his son Ronald Benson Jr. of Richmond, VA, and his family. He is survived by sister Inge S. Hansen Burstein of Oakton, VA and her two sons and their families. He is predeceased by his uncle Dr. Knud Stowman and his wife Annette Burr Stowman of Edgewater, FL. Ib Hansen is also survived by a number of relatives in Denmark.
A Memorial Service will be held at Carol Woods Retirement Community Assembly Hall on Saturday Sept.20, 2014 at 1:30 pm. All are welcome. It is requested that donations be made to the Carol Woods Charitable Fund, 750 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.