In loving memory of
NFA Vice President
The National Fireworks Association (NFA) lost its Vice President, Garry Hanson to Covid 19 on November 8, 2020. The family and hundreds of friends and business associates lost a leader. Garry was a person of great knowledge and faith. He had great dedication to the fireworks industry that he loved as well as his love and devotion to his 44-year partner Georgia Martinson.
There is no way we can list the accomplishments of Garry Hanson without missing something great, there were so many.
Garry was born November 29, 1946, in Willmar, MN., the son of William and Edith (Hookom) Hanson. He lived in Arizona until the age of 8, when his father died and they moved to Brooten, MN. On May 24, 1966, he entered the U.S. Navy where he served his country as a Navy Seal during the Vietnam War. Garry had married Clarys Speldrick on May 7, 1966, and they had two daughters together. They later divorced and Garry made his home in the St. Paul area after his military discharge. There he worked as a welder and designer and engineer for a heating and air conditioning company. In 1976 he met his partner, Georgia Martinson. They moved back to Brooten in 1988, where he began his fireworks company, Precocious Pyrotechnics.
In the mid 1970’s a group of fireworks guys got their heads together and said we have to stand up and fight the government agencies for our rights or we will lose our fireworks industry. Garry was one of those guys and he was a founding member of the NFA. He helped fight the battles in court to get 500-gram cakes legalized and was involved in leading the charge on many USDOT & CPSC issues. Having worked with all of the past and present officers of the NFA since its inception, Garry’s knowledge of the operation of the NFA was priceless.
Garry served as the NFA representative to the NFPA for the past 20 years. Garry read for hours each evening on rules and amendments that the NFPA was trying to adopt. So many rules and regulations and he could, from memory, give you rule number at any given moment if asked. He wrote fireworks codes for NFPA numerous times while representing the National Fireworks Association and its members.
Garry helped us organize our first NFA Expo. There were only a handful of us there, but 20 years ago that was fine. We could see the beginning of what the Expo was to be and Garry never gave up for a minute! How wonderful to see he and Georgia at each Expo with their booth and big smiles.
Garry has served in several office positions for the NFA over the years. Never hesitating to step up to serve, even with one of the busiest plates full of work of anyone we knew.
Additionally, Garry was an active member of his American Legion Post and served on The Honor Guard whenever the need arose.
During the early 1970’s Garry became an active member of the Northern Lighter Pyrotechnic Inc. located in MN and served as its President or as an officer for over 16 years. During this time Garry also became an active member of the Pyrotechnic Guild International (PGI). There he had trade show booths, held training seminars, entered competition shell manufacturing and display, shot fireworks shows and won their Grand Master Award in 1981.
Garry was also an active member of the American Pyrotechnic Association and served on many committees over the years. He was always ready to lend a helping hand when needed and his knowledge was invaluable.
Garry was a founding member of the Western Pyrotechnics Association (WPA). He had Trade show booths there and shot shows for the Association as well as teaching educational classes.
The directors of the board of the International Symposium on Fireworks Society have expressed their deep sadness at the loss of Garry.
Garry’s intelligence, innovative and industrious reputation and attention to detail will be impossible to replace.
Garry and Georgia attended several international symposia, and this contributed substantially to their success as a highly regarded pyrotechnics expert. Internationally, Garry provided technical pyrotechnics training at his Precocious Pyrotechnics, Inc., business to the Canadian government workers affiliated with CANMET.
Garry is survived by his partner, Georgia Martinson; daughters, Dawn (David) Kraushaar and Shawnette Morrison; Georgia’s children, Shelly VanDyke and Gary Martinson; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and brother Glenn (Vicki) Otteson.
If you wish to make a donation to Garry & Georgia’s church here is the information:
Crow River Lutheran Church
2650 285th Ave NE
Belgrade, MN 56312
If you wish to make a donation to the National Fireworks Association in Garry’s Memory
8224 NW Bradford CT
Kansas City, MO 64151
Garry, you are loved and admired by so many. May you watch over us all from above and may everyone who knew you remember you each time fireworks light up the sky, because, most assuredly, you played a part in making sure those fireworks are there for all of us to enjoy. May you rest in peace.
Nancy Blogin Stephen Houser
Executive Director President
National Fireworks Association National Fireworks Association