SPRINGFIELD – Richard Lee Hanson, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, retired school teacher and farmer, passed away following a valiant battle with cancer Wednesday night, Oct. 18, 2017, at his home in the Town of Springfield with his family by his side. He was 73.
Born March 30, 1944, at Bassett Hospital, he was the son of Lester Hans and Ellamae Jessie (Myers) Hanson. A gifted athlete, Dick attended Cooperstown Central School where he excelled in football, skiing, basketball and track.
He was later inducted into the CCS Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. He was an accomplished skier, a passion that stayed with him throughout his life.
After graduating with the Class of 1962, Dick attended St. Lawrence University where he was a member of the ski team and the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC). During his college years, he also attended Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va.
After graduating from college with a bachelor degree in economics, Dick
entered into active duty direct commission on June 28 with the Marine Corps. In 1967-68, Captain Hanson proudly served his country overseas in the Vietnam War and earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze service star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation. His last duty assignment and major command was with the Third Recruit Training Battalion at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.
Upon receiving his honorable discharge, Dick returned to his native Cooperstown. On July 22, 1978, he married Mary Jane Hutchins in Wevertown.
For 18 years, Dick taught seventh grade math at Cooperstown Central School, where he also coached football and skiing.
Following his teaching career, he ran Gahanunda Farms in Pierstown for 16 years. He retired from farming in 2004, and Dick and Jane settled into a new home in the Town of Springfield. He also served as president of the Board of Directors for the Otsego County Patrons Cooperative Fire Relief Association for many years.
A dedicated Christian, Dick possessed a deep faith in God and was an active member and lay leader at the Cooperstown United Methodist Church. An avid outdoorsman, he was also a member of the Wedocandors Hunting Club.
A proud American and former Marine, Dick was an active member of the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579, was senior vice commander of the Sgt. Walter P. Eggleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7128, and was treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Corporation. For many years he was a part of the team that renders military honors for deceased veterans. Whenever he served as Officer of the Day, the Marine in him was always evident: his deep, resonant voice always lent an air of dignity and respect to the military ceremonies for his departed comrades.
Dick is survived by his wife of 39 years, Jane; a daughter, Ellen K. Hanson, and a son, Michael M. Hanson and husband, Craig Sheil, all of Boston, Mass.; one sister, Diane Hanson Vredenburgh of Chenango Forks; and many dearly loved nieces, nephews, cousins and family.
He was predeceased by his father, Lester, who died July 14, 1982, and his mother, Ellamae, who died June 26, 2007.
A Service to Celebrate the Life of Richard Lee Hanson will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Cooperstown United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Thomas LeBeau, pastor, officiating. At the conclusion of the service, military honors will be rendered by Dick’s friends and fellow Veterans from the local Legion and VFW and representatives of the Marine Corps Honor Guard.
Immediately following services at the church, all are welcome to gather at the Cooperstown Veterans Club for a time of refreshment and fellowship.
Memorial donations may be made to The Endowment Fund of the Cooperstown United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, The Cooperstown Veterans Post, Inc., 60 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.