Donna and Ralph Hanson

Ralph Eugene Hanson, 89, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2020, with his loving wife of 66 years by his side. Ralph was born on Feb. 8, 1931, in Havre, Montana, to Charles and Verna Hanson. Growing up in Havre, he was a bit of a rascal who grew to become an intelligent, kind and hardworking man.

Ralph began his long and successful career working for the Great Northern Railroad in Havre and Billings, later for Husky Oil Company in Cody, Wyoming, and then for Carter Oil (which became Exxon Oil Company) in Billings and Miles City. His strong work ethic and sense of integrity led him to receive multiple awards and recognition on a national level while with Exxon Oil. After retiring from Exxon in 1992, he worked at Stockton Oil Company in Billings.

Ralph married the love of his life, Donna May Harding, on Jan. 10, 1954, in Havre. Together, they raised two daughters. Throughout the years, they established many deep and lasting friendships, and enjoyed many adventures traveling and cruising with friends and relatives. He was often the life of the party at gatherings with friends, family reunions and just hanging out in his basement.

What made Ralph so special to all who knew him:

  • He was a man of strong beliefs and a deep sense of right and wrong which he passed along to his daughters and grandchildren.
  • He was a man with FUN in his soul. He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed nothing more than a hearty laugh and a good joke. He loved to tease and “torment” those he loved the most. He loved to dance with Donna … whether twirling on the square dance floor or “cutting a rug” at the Elks Club. He loved to play games … especially with the little ones … throwing the ball with the neighbor dog … cribbage with his good friend, Art … and also at his favorite casino.
  • He was a man who gave his all to whatever task was at hand. No matter what he was doing, if a little was good … a lot more was better … four bottles of super glue was always the best answer!
  • He was a man who was a true gentleman … never one to push ahead in a crowd and always the first to hold the door for the ladies. He was a longtime avid member of the Yellowstone Fitness Center who began most every day with a smile and a friendly hello to his gym buddies. When asked how he was, every day he was “Great.”
  • He was a man who would do anything for his neighbors … enjoyed watching CJ play ball and visiting with Ron.

Most important, Ralph was a man who took so much PRIDE in each person in his family, and he deeply cherished every moment spent together. He was continually in awe of his 11 great-grandchildren, beamed with pride over his five grandchildren, loved his daughters with all his heart and ADORED his wife.

He is survived by his wife, Donna; daughters Lori Newell (Joe Munsell) of Billings and Susan Adrian (David) of Casper, Wyoming; grandchildren Kurtis Wright (Stacy) of Orlando, Florida, Kevin Wright (Katie) of Helena, Amber Smith (Tim) of New Port Beach, California, Tara Dye (Jason) of Casper, Wyoming, and Tyler Adrian (Katie) of Thornton, Colorado; and 11 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by one brother, Leroy Hanson (Jo) of York, Pennsylvania.

He was preceded in death of his parents and four siblings, as well as his much beloved son-in-law, Donald Wright.

Due to social distancing guideline, a small private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial donation in his name to RiverStone Hospice,123 S. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101.

A truly compassionate and loving man! So full of life & laughter!! He will be greatly missed by all!!

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