Tuesday, May 13, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Rebecca Hanson, 42, Singer, Songwriter, Vaudeville Trouper

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

She was known by friends as "Rebo," by her legions of fans as "Rebo Flordigan."

It was a play on words: "Flordigan," "floored again." It fit. Rebecca Hanson had a gift for flooring people, time and again.

She did so as a singer-songwriter in several musical groups. And she did so as co-founder of the New Old Time Chautauqua, a traveling educational and vaudeville show that tours the Northwest.

"She was an incredible writer and musician," said Rebecca Chace, a friend of Ms. Hanson. "She was an amazingly talented person."

Ms. Hanson died Saturday (May 10) of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at Virginia Mason Medical Center. She was 42.

Born in Minneapolis and reared in St. Louis Park, Minn., a nearby suburb, Ms. Hanson received a bachelor's degree in design from the University of Minnesota. She moved to Seattle in 1990 to "be with friends," said her mother, Marilyn Hanson Hickok of Camano Island.

Ms. Hanson was perhaps best known in Seattle as a member of the Hank Williams Revue, a band that has played Williams' songs Wednesday evenings during the winter at the Tractor Tavern.

"It became a surprise hit in the city," said Dan Cowan, Tractor Tavern owner. "It draws 150 to 200 people each time."

Known for writing funny, poignant, personal songs, Ms. Hanson performed some of her material as part of the duos Girls Who Wear Glasses and, more recently, the Rodz Sisters.

Ms. Hanson was part of the "new vaudeville" movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The movement, which included the Flying Karamazov Brothers, a comedic juggling troupe, took the old vaudevillian styles and skills and put a modern, intellectual sensibility to it, Chace said.

With her then-husband, Paul Magid, one of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and others, Ms. Hanson co-founded the New Old Time Chautauqua. The show tours a few weeks each summer.

Ms. Hanson did not start recording her songs until about a year ago and just recently recorded "February," for which she performed her original material, sang, and played the guitar and piano. She also recorded a compilation of original lullabies by herself and other musicians. The two compact discs are expected to be released soon.

"The whole end of her life was about trying to get that done," Magid said.

Other survivors include her fiance, Bill Jedrzejewski of Seattle; her stepfather, Gene Hickok of Camano Island; two brothers and a sister. Services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to a fund to aid musicians without health insurance: Sweet Relief, 11301 W. Olympic Blvd., Box 494, West Los Angeles, CA 90064, or to a charity of the donor's choice.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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