My mother always said deaths came in threes, and that seemed to have happened recently. The first one was my uncle Leigh Hansen, he was my father's youngest brother and one of the last two children of Anton and Anna (Dillingham) Hansen still alive. He passed away December 11, 2007, just eleven days after his 94th birthday. Leigh and my father were very close even though Leigh was seven years younger. I was always fond of Leigh also as he looked like my twin in pictures taken many years ago and a lot of people are amazed how much I look like Leigh when he was younger..
Leigh was born in Columbus, Montana and went to school there till the family moved to a farm near Blanchard, Idaho where Leigh finished school, and helped his parents on the farm till World War II. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was trained as a tail gunner for B-17s. He only had one problem with that, he got air sick when ever they left the ground, so he was retrained as an aircraft mechanic, and sent to Peru to service the airplanes that were patrolling the Panama Canal. The United States was sure the Germans or Japanese were going to blow up the canal, but that never happened.
After the war he was back at the farm, and after his parents passed away he started working part time with a plumber and later got married, sold the farm started plumbing full time and moved to Priest River, Idaho. Several years ago he retired from plumbing and his wife died in 2004. Rest in Peace Leigh.
The second death was Carol Sanderson that everyone here knew. We were cyber friends for years, most every Saturday we got together for a chat and talked about the newsletter, her diabetes, the weather and our families. My mom died from her diabetes, so I was fairly familiar with diabetes and she was always worried I would get diabetes also, but so far I seem to be diabetes free. Rest in Peace Carol.
The third and I hope last for a while was my dad, Claude Dillingham Hansen, he passed away May 15, 2008 just three months short of his 102nd birthday. Pop was born near Sebeka, Minnesota to Anton and Anna (Dillingham) Hansen in August 1906, and just before he was four the family moved to Columbus, Montana. Pop was the fourth of five children, two older sisters, Frances and Carrie, and two brothers Ralph and Leigh. He grew up in Columbus, Montana where his father farmed and ran a dairy for a few years then he sold the dairy and bought the grain elevator. Pop never finished high school, and started working. He really did not like being a farmer, so he tried several jobs before moving to north Idaho and getting a job as a cooks helper in a logging camp. Later he bought a Model T truck and built bunks for hauling logs. He worked his way through Model As and finally Ford V8 trucks before he moved to Spokane, Washington to look for work. He found a job in the Studebaker dealer's shop as a mechanic. My mom was also working there as a bookkeeper.
When World War II started pop enlisted in the Army Air Corps and his unit the 354th Service Squadron serviced the B-17s and B-26 bombers. Pop ran the motor pool to keep all the vehicles running that they needed to service the bombers. They went first to England, then Africa, and finally Italy. He was rotated home early due to his age and worked several jobs before getting back with the Studebaker dealership. By 1956 when Studebaker was going down hill fast, pop got a job as a custodian for the local school district. Better benefits, medical coverage, and after 15 years with the school district he retired. Even after retiring he stayed active, puttering in the garage, always working on something. Mom passed away in 1994, and pop was still very active living alone in the family home. In about 2002 his heart started slowing him down, but until just over a month ago he still lived alone and took care of himself. Then his heart slowed some more, and he needed 24 hour a day care, so I moved back in and with some paid help we kept him at home till the end. Rest in Peace Pop.
As a genealogist I have looked up hundreds of obits, and we need to remember all of these people touched the lives of others and are not just a quick obit in a newspaper. We need to write about their lives so they are never forgotten. At a seminar recently on cemeteries the speaker told the most important part of any one buried in the cemetery was the dash between the birth and death date.