Obituary Details

Ralph Edward Hanson

(11/23/1923 - 11/23/1978)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 11/30/1978

Ralph Hanson dies when home burns in Saratoga

Smoke inhalation claimed the life of Ralph Hanson when their Saratoga home burned to the ground Thanksgiving morning at about 2:00. Mrs. Hanson (Frances) who is now at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John DeGering and Mr. DeGering, Hat Creek area ranchers, received minor burns on the back and foot.

The Hansons are well known in the Harrison and Lusk communities. He was reared in Harrison, and Mrs. Hanson lived here for many years before they were married. After they were married they made their home here for 19 years. Mr. Hanson was manager of Cal-Gas, propane company, and transferred to Saratoga in 1972 where he was managing the plant there.

Mrs. Hanson said the smoke alarm woke her up and she woke her husband. They left the bedroom, and she went to the front door which she could not get opened. She turned back and they went out through the kitchen to the utility room which had two exits - the exit she took went directly out of doors, but the exit Mr. Hanson chose went through the garage and out of doors.

Mrs. Hanson ran barefoot and clad only in a short nightgown across a vacant lot to the home of a neighbor for help. The man of the household and his brother immediately went to the Hanson home. "Looking out the window I saw Ralph's Cal-Gas pickup being backed away, and I thought and said, "Ralph is alright he's backing the pickup away," said Mrs. Hanson. It was not until later when she saw an ambulance arrive that she realized anything was wrong and she and the neighbor woman returned to the scene of the fire.

The neighbor had found Mr. Hanson at the utility room entrance.

Fighting the fire was hampered because the water would not flow properly through the hydrant. First efforts to fight it was a bucket brigade said Mrs. Hanson.

She lost all of her personal belongings with the exception of the nightgown she was wearing and the billfold she had picked up from the night stand as she left the bedroom. Even her eyeglasses are gone.

It was not until several hours after the confusion had started to subside that Mrs. Hanson realized her foot had been burned, commenting at the time that it hurt and she wondered if perhaps she had frost-bite.

The DeGerings and Mrs. Hanson's son Bill Kilmer of Riverton were notified immediately and joined Mrs. Hanson in Saratoga.

HELD HERE MONDAY
Memorial service for Ralph Hanson was held Monday afternoon at Peet Mortuary Chapel with the Rev. Frank Blish officiating. Organist was Jane Bardo and Mark Lohr sang, "Beyond The Sunset" and "The Old Rugged Cross."

Active bearers were Clinton Craig, Art Johnson, Keith Ward, Bud Reed, Bebe Reed and Dean Bass. Interment was in the Lusk Cemetery with graveside service by the Lusk Elks Lodge.

Memorials have been established to the Niobrara County Nursing Home.

Ralph Edward Hanson was born November 25, 1923, and raised on the Hanson ranch near Harrison, the second child of Guy and Angie Hanson.

He attended schools in Sioux County, graduating from High school in 1941.

Hanson served in the navy during World War II and the Korean conflict. Following his discharge he worked with his father in Harrison as a carpenter. He and Frances Kilmer were married on September 15, 1953, in Scottsbluff, Nebr., and made their home in Lusk.

He was employed at the Merit Cleaners, Kilmer Dairy and as manager of Cal-Gas. He was a long-time member of the Elks Lodge in Lusk.

Survivors are his widow Frances, two stepchildren, Bill Kilmer of Riverton and Kay DeGering of Lusk; sisters, Willie Geiser of Armore, S.D. and Carolin Pyle of Martin, S.D., brothers, Bob Hanson of Madison, Tenn. and Herb Hanson of Harrison; five grandchildren.

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