We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Drinkwine Family Mortuary, Inc.
Carl D Hanson (5/31/27–6/30/22, age 95)
Carl was born in Fredericktown, PA, to John and Mildred Hanson on May 31, 1927. His only sibling, Delores, was born 3 years later. Their hometown was 35 miles south of Pittsburgh and located on the banks of the Monongahela River. His parents owned and operated the local hardware store. His early childhood was marked by close family ties and frequent family picnics to the river’s shore, where he and friends would swim out to the main channel and play in the giant wakes created by steam-driven paddle boats of the era. Fascinated by sports at an early age, he prided himself on organizing touch-football and pick-up baseball games with nearby communities. An exceptional high school running back and baseball shortstop at East Bethlehem HS, he was invited for a tryout with the Pittsburgh Pirates at age 17, where the famous Honus Wagner “hit me ground balls”. Before hearing back from the Pirates and 3 months prior to his high school graduation, he and 2 close friends decided that the United States needed their service in the Great War. Lying about his age (he was still 17) and memorizing the color-blindness charts (he was red/green colorblind) he was accepted into the Navy and stationed aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Roosevelt. Unusually sharp 20/10 visual acuity landed him a gunner job behind 2 five inch anti aircraft guns on the starboard side of the ship. Tasked with sailing the south Atlantic and Caribbean in 1944, his carrier group saw no combat action, but constantly patrolled for enemy ships and submarines. 5500 sailors crewed his vessel and a baseball team was formed among them through open tryouts. He fondly remembered sailing into Havana, Panama, Rio, and multiple other ports, where he would suit-up and disembark to play a country’s national team. He often said he felt sorry for the crewman left behind who “had to swab the deck while I went ashore to play ball and chase girls”. It’s the one time he may not have been completely honest. But he truly did love his time in the Navy.
Following his service discharge at the end of WWII, he returned to Pennsylvania and enrolled at Washington & Jefferson College under the GI Bill. While still unsure of his career path and playing wingback for the college, he suffered a serious knee injury which caused him to look carefully at his academic future. A fellow student introduced him to petroleum engineering and he was hooked. Penn State had a renowned engineering program so he transferred there and graduated in 1950 with a PE degree. He travelled to Texas the summer before senior year to get a feel for his business, where he worked as a field-hand for Forest Oil Corp. Upon graduating, Forest offered him a job in West Texas as a field manager. He lived in a “flop house” in Odessa TX with Bob, a fellow engineer from PA, but they were forbidden to be roommates. The landlady said, “I’m not ever letting two Yankees live together under my roof, so each of you will live alone”. Bob became distraught over the doubling of his anticipated rent and he returned home to PA four months later. Prior to Bob’s departure he approached Carl with a recent copy of the Odessa newspaper and showed him a photo of the recently crowned “Miss West Texas”. Carl said, “I know her. I took her on a date when I was down here last summer”.
“No way! If that’s true why don’t you call her?”, Bob replied.
Carl walked Bob to the pay phone, rang her up, and married her in 1953. Bob Neville returned to Odessa to be the best man. Carl and Nellda were married for 62 years, until her death in 2015.
Less than two years in West Texas led to Carl’s promotion to the Rocky Mountain Division Manager position in Denver, making him the youngest division head in Forest’s history. Later promoted to Vice President of Company Production, he oversaw drilling projects in the North Sea, Indonesia, Australia, north slope of Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, and all over the US, while spending his entire career living in Denver. Under his acumen and direction, Forest drilled the first well in the world to a depth of over 25,000 ft in the Permian Basin, just a few miles from where he had met his wife some 25 yrs earlier.
His love of sport was intense, lifelong, and exceeded only by his love of family. He and Nellda had 3 children, Carl Jr, Lisa, and Jon. To be loved by him as a child was to be protected by the strongest force you would ever know. He had a powerful and at times intimidating personality. Few if any ever forgot meeting him. A look from his eyes could feel worse than any spanking. When Carl Jr lost his first two little league football games at age 7, Dad announced at the dinner table, “Your team is too talented to lose like that, you guys need a new coach. On Monday I’ll be your coach”.
“But Dad we already have a coach, Mr Luxa”.
“I’ll be the coach on Monday and Mr Luxa will be my assistant”.
On Monday Dad was coaching, and the team did not lose another game for 4 years. Three players from that team went on to play Division I college football.
And yes, he took over the baseball team too.
And yes, at age 82 he became the personal caregiver for his wife, after the doctors told him he didn’t have enough medical training to deal with the severity of her illnesses. He learned to give injections, to draw blood, to monitor and adjust intraspinal drug pumps, to perform at home anticoagulation tests, to keep constant blood pressure/oxygen saturation/blood glucose charts, etc….And he did that for YEARS before her passing, all so she could stay at home and be more comfortable.
Yes he could be intimidating, but his dedication to those he loved was by far his most powerful force.
There is really no sadness at the end of a 95 year old life so well lived. Because of his gradual decline since a stroke at age 92, all of us who cherished him have had ample time to say goodbye and assure him that he will always be a guiding force in our lives. Anyone who knew him well was better for it, and our world was made a better place because of his presence in it.
Carl is survived by his sister Delores Green (h-Bill) of Owensville, MO, his son Carl Jr (w-KayLynn) of Denver, CO, and his daughter Lisa Schandle (h-Tom) of Littleton, CO, six grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents John and Mildred, his wife Nellda, and his youngest child Jon.
A private family service is planned.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to a charity of your choice.