Robert Lee Hanson died April 21, 2023, in sagebrush country at Fallon Medical Complex in Baker, MT. Three months shy of his 91st birthday, the scale of change he witnessed and the spectrum of people he met throughout his life was vast.
Robert was born July 27, 1932, in Bowman, ND, to John and Katherine (Munro) Hanson. He spent his early years attending Sand Creek School with classmate Jack Oldis. The Lorge, Hafele, Gerbig and Jacobson families were constant companions and remain family friends today.
Robert graduated in 1952 from Dickinson Model High School, where he boarded with the Buresh family. Those four school years were the only extended time he spent away from the ranch during his life. He was grateful to Nancy Rabe Herauf for helping him to navigate from a small country school to life in the city and high school.
While on a 4-H trip to Minneapolis, he caught the eye of a beautiful farmer’s daughter from Regent, ND, Beverly Anderson. They were married November 28, 1954, and to this union four children were born: John, Janet, Krisanne and Teddy.
Once the children began school, Robert and Beverly made the sacrifice to live apart and purchased a house in Bowman so their children could fully participate in extracurricular activities. For 17 years Beverly worked at the nursing home and cared for the children in town during the week, while Robert batched it at the ranch. He was proud of his children and made many trips to town for support and encouragement. A source of great pride was that each of his kids graduated from college.
Robert and Beverly shared a passion for trapshooting. Together they started an ATA registered trapshooting event in 1966 at the Logging Camp Ranch and hosted it for 22 consecutive years during the sharp-tailed grouse opener. Many fellow shooters who became lifelong friends recall fond memories of those gatherings.
Robert had an early interest in aviation. He followed this passion, soloed in 1982 and continued learning to achieve his commercial and instrument ratings. He enjoyed flying his own planes for a number of years.
A major setback in 1986 was the untimely death of his beloved life-mate and partner, Beverly. Their marriage of 32 years was a humble example of partnership, sacrifice and admiration.
After a chance meeting of Diane Miller and her children while visiting the ranch to ride horse, Robert and Diane married. The remoteness of the ranch proved too great for the union to last.
His early interest in quarter horses and great appreciation for the workmanship of a good saddle evolved over his lifetime. This led to a breeding program that at its peak featured 90 broodmares and numerous stallions. He inquired about leasing a stud Fan Along Cody from Ann Secrest of Miles City, MT. Ann paid a visit to the Logging Camp to ensure it was a suitable home for her stud. She and Robert had supper at Georgia’s & The Owl in Amidon and a relationship began. Robert and Ann married and spent the next 20 years building a reputation for producing good ranch and performance quarter horses that were sought after nationwide until her death in 2021 and his retirement at age 88.
Robert was a voracious reader and proclaimed he was an expert on all things as he read the Wall Street Journal every day! He was a lifetime member of AQHA and the ND Stockmen’s Association, past member and president of the Little Missouri Grazing Association and member of the Dickinson Elks Club. His interest in photography led to the capturing of many priceless photos of family and friends.
He played a big role as a father figure in the lives of many, providing advice, great mentorship, and inspiration for hard work.
The Logging Camp Ranch has attracted visitors far and wide for its natural beauty. Sharing this land with visitors from across the country began with Robert’s parents, John and Katherine. He and Beverly continued this tradition, and today it is carried forward by John and Jennifer who host guests at their lodge and cabins.
Robert was born toward the tail end of a remarkable era known as the Greatest Generation. He knew the colorful ranchers and history of southwest North Dakota and had great respect for those who made it their home. The early ranchers faced significant hardships but were resilient. Robert had an ability to recount these stories in great detail. In later years, many people called upon him to reference history, and he relished in telling the stories to anyone with curiosity – and plenty of time on their hands.
His love of caring for cattle, horses and pets was well-matched for a fulfilling life of ranching in the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota.
He is survived by his four children: John (Jennifer) of Logging Camp Ranch, Janet of Scottsbluff, NE, Krisanne (Hilde) of San Carlos, CA, and Ted (JoDee) of Mandan, ND. He was uplifted and took great joy watching his eight grandchildren grow and succeed: Eric, Robert, Kathryn (Matt), Daniel (Sarah), Andrea (Isaac), Allison (Max), Jake and Hannah. He was blessed with nine great-grandchildren: Trey, Preston, Hudson, Paisley, Hadley, Vada, Maverick, Cohen and Jaxson.
He was preceded in death by his three wives, Beverly, Diane, and Ann and his three older siblings, William, Louise and Victoria.
Visitation (with no service) will be 5-7pm MDT Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at Ladbury Funeral Service in Dickinson.
A celebration of Robert’s life will be held at 3 p.m. MDT on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at the World’s Fairgrounds in Amidon. A reception will follow, where we will enjoy some of Robert’s favorite pastimes – playing whist, gin rummy, socializing and telling stories with great friends.
Burial will be at 2 p.m. MDT Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Lebanon Lutheran Cemetery near Amidon.
Memorials to the family will be used to set up the Robert & Beverly Hanson scholarship for higher education.
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