Raili Hanson was 12 when her family immigrated from Finland. Neither she nor anyone in her family could speak English.
By the time she graduated from Everett General Hospital’s nursing program, she was class valedictorian. She was a registered nurse at the hospital for 40 years, 20 of them in a mother-baby unit.
“She was so smart, and just a wonderful caregiver all her life,” said Larry Hanson, Raili’s husband of 49 years and publisher of The Herald from 1984 to 2001.
Raili Kuivikko Hanson died Monday after an eight-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was 71.
She is survived by her husband, her children Jeff and Wendy Hanson, grandchildren Derek and Anna, and brother Kale Kuivikko.
Hanson lived in Mukilteo, but for many years had made her home in Everett.
Born April 22, 1939, in Vaasa, Finland, Raili came to the United States in 1952 with her parents, Seth and Meeri Kuivikko, and younger brother. They stayed at first with her mother’s sister in Seattle, where Raili attended her last year of elementary school.
“She was blessed with a teacher who understood she needed to learn English,” Larry Hanson said. “She learned quickly.”
Active in community life, Raili Hanson was an Assistance League volunteer, chairwoman of the General Hospital Children’s Foundation, and served on the board of the Bethany of the Northwest Foundation.
In the fall of 1957, Larry Hanson was editor of the Everett Junior College yearbook. He said Friday he was supervising photo shoots of the freshmen women when he first saw his future wife. They were married in 1961 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Everett.
Hanson said his wife was the quintessential friend. A 1958 graduate of Everett High School, she met often with classmates from nursing school and high school.
“She fostered incredible friendships,” Hanson said.
A memorial service for Raili Hanson is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 15 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.