Former San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger died of pancreatic cancer early Wednesday, May 6, with his family by his side. He was 78.
Hansberger served as supervisor for 20 years until he was beaten by Neil Derry in 2008. Hansberger was once the youngest chairman of the board in county history.
Born on Oct. 1, 1941, he was one of four sons. David, the oldest brother, died in 2006. Doug and Don are still living. His parents Leroy and Helen Hansberger raised the family in the Dunlap area in Yucaipa, and then moved to the Outer Highway and eventually to Redlands.
He graduated from Redlands High School in 1960, attended San Bernardino Valley College and the University of California, Riverside, majoring in geology.
Hansberger's county government career began in 1968 as an assistant to Supervisor Donald Beckford until 1972.
In 1972, Hansberger was elected to represent Redlands and the Third District. He served on the Local Agency Formation Commission and the South Coast Air Quality board. He served from 1972 to 1980 and again from 1996 to 2008.
His father, the late Leroy Hansberger, said in a Yucaipa Calimesa News Mirror interview in 2017 that he was proud of all his children.
“They were great boys. My son Dennis was elected to the office of supervisor and did so for years.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Redlands is named after Hansberger, who secured $4 million in federal funding for its construction in 2003.
“Dennis had been a strong advocate for after-school and youth services,” said P.T. McEwen, Boys & Girls Club president. “When building the first permanent home for the club, we were faced with skyrocketing construction costs as Hurricane Katrina just ravaged the Gulf Coast.
“Dennis stepped up and helped direct funds to help ensure our dream of a clubhouse was not lost,” continued McEwen. “The Boys & Girls Club is forever in his debt. We are proud to have our clubhouse bear his name and carry on his legacy of caring for the youth in communities.”
Hansberger was one of two supervisors who voted against the controversial $102 million settlement between the county and Colonies Partners in 2006. Supervisor Josie Gonzales also voted against the settlement.