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Born August 19, 1932, in Bournemouth, England, Jim Hance was a dedicated and gifted scholar, and was the first in his family to attend college. As a schoolboy, he was also an avid athlete and musician, and was proud of his trombone playing in celebrated regional bands.
At the University of Birmingham (Birmingham, England) he was awarded a BS in Zoology and earned his PhD in Experimental Psychiatry. He emigrated from England to California in 1958 and worked on the academic faculty at the Schools of Medicine, first at the University of California Los Angeles, then Stanford University, then the University of California Davis, from which he retired in 2004.
Jim Hances graduate education foucused on neurophysiological and neuropharmacological techniques for studying the effects of drugs and chemicals on brain function. He was especially involved in studying the mechanisms involved in the actions of anesthetic, analgesic and cataleptic agents; and the influence of circadian and seasonal variations on their actions. He published numerous research studies over the years at UCLA, Stanford, and UCDavis, some in collaboration with Drs Wallace Winters and Keith Killam.
He was a pioneer in developing computer hardware and techniques for analyzing the acquired data collected in studying brain function. Jim Hance was an early convert during the computer revolution, helping build first-generation mainframe computers. He was among the first to acquire a personal computer, and maintained his enthusiasm for the computing world throughout his adult life.
Widely read and astonishingly knowledgeable, he was regularly queried by family and friends to explain and educate about the natural and man-made world. Jim Hance was a creator, builder and fixer of all sorts of practical (and impractical) household appliances, educational displays, bicycles, gadgets, puzzles and toys.
Jim Hance was also a skilled and adventurous cook, and loved baking bread. He was a cheerful, affable and interesting man, with an unflagging interest in new things, and the friendly openness to talk with anybody about anything.
Jim Hance was preceded in death by his father, Watler Edwin Stanley Hance (1990) and his mother, Jessie Irene Hance (nee Finch, 1997).
He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Ruth Anne Hance, and three sons: David Anthony Hance (of San Luis Obispo, California), Peter Andrew Hance (of Silverdale, Washington), and Stanley John Hance (of Placerville, California). He is also survived by Carrie Sellar and Jon Sellar, the children of his son Peters wife Merridy Hance, and by Brittnie Roediger and Kyle Roediger, the children of his son Johns wife, Lisa Hance.
There will be a remembrance gathering for family and friends on Saturday, August 15, 2009, drop in between 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, at the family home, 1103 Radcliffe Drive, Davis, California.
Donations in A.J.Hances memory can be made to the Explorit Science Center, P.O.Box 1288, Davis, CA 95617, or visit www.explorit.org.
Sending love and condolences to Aunty Anne and cousins David, Peter and John and families - and remembering fond memories of Uncle Jim, his stories, his knot tying (!) and for always being interesting company. We know he will be much missed. Jayne and Becky x x
Jayne Hill Aug 17 2009 12:00 AM
I have happy memories of attending Melton Mowbray Grammar School with Jim where he was always top of the class and so it was no surprise that he had such a successful academic career.
Betty Smith Aug 17 2009 12:00 AM
Fond memories of brother-in-law Jim who had a knack of making everything we talked about more interesting and informative. Much love, Clare and Brian XX
Clare & Brian Slaughter Aug 16 2009 12:00 AM
With much love and fond memories of Uncle Jim. Chris x
Chris Slaughter Aug 16 2009 12:00 AM
My grandpa was an amazing and intersting man. When i think about him i remember the banana stickers on the cupboard, there must have been over a 100 is swear. I also remember all the puzzles that he personally made that were so hard to figure out. He was one of the most brilliant minds i have ever had in my family. I love you grandpa, and i know i will see you again.
Brittnie Roediger Aug 12 2009 12:00 AM
Dr. Hance was my graduate advisor and mentor at UC Davis back in the late 1980s we stayed in touch since then. To me he was the family I did not have in this country as well as my friend. Every year since the birth of our only child, Evan, Dr. Hance sent Evan a Birthday card exactly on the birthday (I never knew how he did this). We can always feel the thoughfulness and time he spent in selecting each one these cards and he has sent Evan wonderful books and bookmarks that Evan will cherish for a long time. I told Evan about Dr. Hance and he sincerely appreciated the birthday wishes. I personally will miss him so very much I've always looked forward to his Xmax letter with the annual news and his elegant writing, you feel the humor in it. We send you Anne and the rest of the Hances our deepest regrets and sympathy for Dr. Hance's loss and I want you to know that he will always have a place in my heart, he was a wonderful mentor, family, and friend.
Aisar Atrakchi and Jay Kramer Aug 7 2009 12:00 AM
Thinking of you Anne, and all that your husband did for Explorit.
Lindsay Poss Aug 6 2009 12:00 AM