Mike Hasson, the son of a Portland grocer and a self-taught salesman who founded one of Oregon’s most successful independent real estate companies, died Dec. 31 from mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lungs. He was 66.
The Lake Oswego resident, civic leader and former CEO and founder of Hasson Company Realtors was diagnosed 10 years ago with a malignant tumor caused by inhaled asbestos fibers, according to his family.
Hasson, who was a competitive athlete in high school, prepared himself physically and mentally to take on the cancer and defied the one-year prognosis for 10 years, said his brother, Barry Hasson.
“He endured surgeries and treatments without self pity,” said Barry Hasson, a builder, who does not know how his brother was exposed to asbestos. “He won battle after battle but sadly lost the war.”
Longtime family friend Dave Rogoway of Portland said Mike Hasson didn’t come from wealth, but he worked very hard and built a business with integrity, honesty and passion. “He treated everyone the same, from a waiter to a multimillionaire,” he said.
His real estate clients ranged from first-time home buyers to athletes, including players for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Justin Harnish, principal broker of Harnish Properties in Lake Oswego, said Mike Hasson was someone to emulate.
“Mike was always quick with a smile and a wisecrack, but I always walked away with some morsel of knowledge, some bit of advice,” said Harnish. “He always had something to teach me. He was a titan in our industry, but he didn’t act like it. He wanted everyone to find success.”
Hasson’s influence extends beyond his company and the people he mentored in real estate.
He coached at the Lake Oswego Soccer Club and Lake Oswego High School, and supported nonprofit organizations such as the Oregon Children’s Theatre, the Children’s Cancer Association, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children, Meals on Wheels and the domestic violence shelter program at the Raphael House of Portland, according to his family.
Among his radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments were surgeries, including a pleurectomy in 2011 that removed the lining around his lung.
Seven months after the surgery, he biked 32 miles in the Providence Bridge Pedal and Stride event, said Barry Hasson, who accompanied him.
“He was handsome with a big smile,” said Rogoway. “People just adored him.”
From Selling Shoes to Real Estate
Michael Hasson was born Oct. 16, 1954, at Wilcox Women’s Hospital (now Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center) in Portland to Bob Hasson, a World War II vet and vegetable seller, and Marilyn Hasson, who would later help manage her son’s real estate offices.
Bob Hasson’s father immigrated from Rhodes, Greece, and opened a produce stand in the 1920s in downtown Portland across the street from Fred Meyer’s first grocery store.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Bob Hasson sold produce at the Grand Central Market in Southeast Portland in the 1950s and 1960s, and later ran a produce and fruit basket business within the downtown Meier & Frank department store.
Mike and his siblings, Barry, and sister, Janise (Jani), who died from breast cancer in 1995, grew up in a modest home in Northeast Portland.
“Even though we had our monetary struggles, my parents led by example when it came to love of family, living within one’s means, working hard, taking responsibility for one’s actions, never showing jealousy for those who had more and to be the best you can be,” said Barry Hasson.
Mike Hasson attended Laurelhurst Elementary School and Grant High School in Northeast Portland, where he was the lead-off hitter for the Babe Ruth League state championship team and competed on the wrestling team.
He sold lightbulbs, Christmas cards and Oregon Journal newspaper subscriptions from door to door in grade school and high school. The money he made selling shoes at Nordstrom for four years paid for college, his brother said.
He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in history.
He received his real estate license in 1977, and in 1983, Hasson and two partners founded Handel, Hasson & Jones, a residential real estate firm in Lake Oswego.
In 1991, he started Hasson Company Realtors with 12 carefully selected real estate agents and a saying that he didn’t know the “magic sauce,” except that people and connections mattered.
Mike Hasson never compromised quality over growth, said Steve Studley, whom Hasson named CEO three years ago. And yet it succeeded.
In 2020, the company had $2.2 billion in sales among 165 agents in offices in Lake Oswego, Northwest and Northeast Portland, Vancouver, Clackamas, Wilsonville, Cannon Beach and Hood River.
Since its founding, the company has transacted more than $26 billion in total sales and has ranked in the top 10 real estate companies in the nation and in the top five in the Pacific Northwest, according to Studley.
“The Hasson Company, which was intentionally crafted by Mike, is poised to carry forward his legacy through the action of our agents, employees and leadership team well into the future,” said Studley.
Two of Hasson’s three daughters, Lauren and Jenna, and nephews Tracy Hasson and Corey Rudolph, and niece Nicole Imatani work for the company.
Hasson is also survived by his daughter Michelle, two grandchildren, nieces and nephews, “and thousands of loving friends,” said Barry.