On December 31, a light went out in Lake Oswego. Mike Hasson, the founder of Hasson Company Realtors, passed away after a 10-year-battle with mesothelioma. He took on the challenge of fighting that disease like he took on all the challenges he faced—with a positive attitude and a resilience that inspired all around him.
I joined Mike’s company in 1989 when it was still under the banner of Handel, Hasson and Jones, two years before he broke away and founded the Hasson Company Realtors. I was drawn to the integrity he brought to the business and his emphasis on doing business the right way.
But our relationship wasn’t just a professional one, as most Realtors who work at the company would admit. Our personal lives followed the same trajectory. At the time when I joined Mike, there was a group of us at the company just starting to have kids. So not only were we sharing our professional ups and downs, we were also on the same roller coaster ride of becoming parents for the first, second, and third times. And turns out Mike was a hands-on Dad like me. We were high achievers at the office, but not at the expense of spending time with our kids. He went on to coach two of my daughters in soccer and I watched as he took those same principles he applied in the office and put them to work on the soccer field. He expected the best out of his players but he also equipped them with the right training, strategies and support to produce at a very high level. To this day, my youngest daughter, who trained under Mike for many seasons, considers him one of her most important mentors.
One of my family’s favorite travel memories is of a trip we took to Orlando, Florida, with Mike and his daughter Jenna. He was coaching our daughters’ 3v3 soccer team who had qualified for the national finals in Disney World. The week was filled with excursions to the Magic Kingdom, Disney Hollywood, Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach Water Park, (along with a few brownie sundaes thrown in there for dessert) which wasn’t probably a recommended training regimen before an important game. The girls put up a good fight, but did lose in the playoffs. That’s not what any of us remember though. It’s more like the ten times we rode the Kali River Rapids, sometimes without even having to get off the ride at the end because the park was so deserted (it was January, 2002 and the tourism industry hadn’t yet recovered from 9/11). Or how scared the kids were to ride the Tower of Terror, only to exit it quickly after the 13-story drop and line up to do it all over again.
Our entire family was stunned to learn of Mike’s passing as we, like most of the rest of his circle (which was a widely cast one) thought he was invincible. My wife captured the essence of his personal gift by describing his ability to be “fully present whenever you talked to him.” Here was a man who, as one colleague described him, couldn’t walk around town without being greeted by just about everyone, but still managed to tune out the background noise to truly listen to what you had to say, to check in with how our kids were, to see how we were doing.
Last week our company held a virtual memorial in-house so everyone would have a chance to reminisce and pay tribute to Mike. Tears were shed, laughter was shared, but the recurring theme was this—Mike valued relationships and went out of his way to touch as many lives as he could while he was with us. “Be like Mike,” became the recurring mantra as we all realized that if everyone was, this world would be a much better place.
Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.