Gary “Jay” Hanson passed away in his home in Thompson Falls, Montana, on May 21, 2018, after battling cancer. He was 78 years old.
Jay was born March 2, 1940 in Columbus, Montana, and attended grade school in Mystic Lake, Montana, where his grandfather and father worked as electricians at the dam. His grade school was a single room schoolhouse for all the children of dam workers. When the school was closing in 1968 he returned to retrieve the player piano his grandmother purchased for the school originally, it still resides in the family home.
Jay’s parents moved to Burke, Idaho, and attended middle school and two years of high school in Wallace, Idaho. His father, Raymond, was transferred to to work at the Thompson Falls dam, where he attended high school and then met the love of his life and future bride, Beverly Hoy.
After marrying Beverly in Kalispell, they moved to Cutbank to work for the Mountain Bell Telephone company, eventually transferring to Choteau and then Missoula where he worked as a lineman for the company. In 1972, he was assigned to Superior, Montana, as the service technician for Mineral County. After 6 years in Superior a position came open in his home town of Thompson Falls where he completed his career as service man for Sanders Co. and retired after 44 years of service as a phone man. Although, his job never changed, the company sold several times and he worked for Mountain Bell, US West, ATT, and Blackfoot.
When the lines were buried in Mineral County, Jay and his sons gathered the retired telephone poles and used these to build the family home and out buildings in Thompson Falls. Jay had been a part time rancher raising Red Angus while working full time. After retiring from the phone company, he became a fulltime rancher and worked the land as Dry Gulch Red Angus. The original land purchase was 20 acres and then grew to 90 acres as land became available to them. Jay and Bev were concerned about the future of the property and encroachment of homes so they put the land into a land conservatory trust to protect the land. He was active as a rancher to the end. Jay was always and active member of his community. He was member of Superior City Council, Lions Club; Thompson Falls Jaycee’s; Mountain Bell Pioneer, Volunteer Fire Department in both Superior and Thompson Falls.
Jay is survived by his wife of 58 years, Beverly Fay Hoy, and sons Craig (and wife Jeneen) of Spokane, Washington, Todd (and wife Cheryl) of Delta Junction, Alaska, and Cole (and wife Donna) of San Diego, as well as grandchildren Matthew, Clete, Zachary; Elizabeth, Gunnar, Taylor and Emily. He is preceded in death by parents Raymond Harold Hanson and Erma Viola Ratliff, brothers Roger Dean Hanson of Fort Myers, Florida, and Robert Goodland, Yreka, California.
A private family gathering will be held at a later date at White Pine Cemetery.