In memory of

Eunice L. Hanson, age 95 of Fairfield, MT

December 21, 1921 – July 31, 2017

Eunice was born Dec. 20, 1921 in Great Falls, MT to Charles L. and Gertrude (Clark) Bailey. She grew up on the family farm in Fort Shaw, MT with her parents and five siblings. Her memories of that time were happy ones. She described it as the era of pot-bellied stoves, one-room school houses, no refrigeration or electricity and actually walking to school one mile, sometimes through deep snow. It was a time when the world seemed smaller and with family and community being everything. She valued both for the remainder of her life. Eunice graduated from Fort Shaw High School (Class of 1939), and subsequently attended college business classes in Havre, MT before being hired by the Sun River Electric Co-op in 1941. Shortly after starting her new job, the manager told her that he had hired a new lineman he thought she would like. She did!  Rodney K. Hanson and Eunice were married on Sept 6. 1942. Theirs was a long “happily ever after” marriage until Rod passed away in 2013. They had celebrated 70 years of marriage just the previous year. In 1944 they became parents of twin girls, Sharon and Charlene. WWII was ramping up and Rod joined the U. S. Navy two months after the girls were born.  Eunice had to quickly learn how to care for two babies on her own.  Luckily she had her mother Gertrude, and a younger sister, Betty, close by for support.  Following Rod’s service in the Navy, in 1946 the young family moved to Newell, SD where Rod began his forty-four year long career as an REA Manager.  Another daughter, Linda, was born in Newell after which the family moved to Sidney, MT where they lived until 1957.  A fourth daughter, Debra, was born shortly before their last move which closed the circle back to Fairfield; this time Rod serving as Manager until his (their) retirement in 1986.  She was a full partner in his success. Following retirement, Eunice and Rod travelled to many places in the world including walking on the Great Wall of China. She and Rod were both highly active in both church and community events wherever they lived.  Eunice sought government grants to establish low cost senior housing in Fairfield and she and Rod were both active in establishing the Fairfield Drop-In Center; a place for active seniors to gather and provide support and company for one another.  They both truly believed in doing what one can to make the world a better place to live.

Eunice was always curious about her roots, and after the girls were raised, she and Rod spent vacations exploring the Country trying to piece together family history. They visited county courthouses looking for family records, cemeteries, and searched genealogy records in Salt Lake. She put the fruits of her research into books each prepared individually for her four girls, documenting family roots from the earliest settlements in New York (1624), and Massachusetts (1635 & 1638). It is a story of courageous people of strong faith building new lives, homes and communities out of nothing. Eunice did not face identical hardships in her life, but she followed their example of community building and preserving close family relationships. She wrote; “This is the history of anyone and everyone who lives in in this land.”  Her life would have made her ancestors, and does make her descendants proud.

Eunice is survived by her sister, Betty Purvis (age 94) of Helena, MT; her daughters Sharon Jeffery (Jim) Grangeville, ID;  Charlene Gustafson (Mike) Billings, MT; Linda Norden (Dick); Boulder, MT; Debra McGimsey (Game), Eagle River, AK; ten grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.

Following Rod’s death, Eunice moved to an assisted living facility in Helena. Although it was hard at first, she quickly made friends and was content in her new home. The family is grateful to the caring professional caregivers she met there. A rare bonus was that her sister Betty with whom she was close, also lived at Touchmark .  She was able to stay at Touchmark with the assistance of Hospice, until her death.

Memories

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  1. My deepest sympathy for your loss. What seems to be a long life is never long enough where our loved ones are concerned. Our Heavenly Father Jehovah feels the same way. That is why He has promised to swallow up death forever and soon end all our suffering. (Rev. 21:3-5; Isa. 25:8) May His promises be a soothing balm for your grieving hearts.

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