Ray Hanson


September 5, 1947 - March 29, 2021


Ray Douglas Hanson, 73, of Mt. Vernon, SD, died Monday, March 29, 2021, surrounded by family after a long battle with cancer at Prairie View Healthcare Center in Woonsocket, SD. Funeral services will be 10:00 AM Friday, April 2, at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Mitchell. Burial will be at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in rural Mt. Vernon. A festival of life will be from 5-7:00 PM Thursday at Resurrection Lutheran Church. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

A recording of the funeral service may be viewed at: https://youtu.be/biuKU0ZYAdo

Ray Douglas Hanson was born September 5, 1947 in Herrick, SD to Carl and Rose (Fiala) Hanson of Mt. Vernon, SD. He attended Avery Country School for two years. He then attended Mt. Vernon High School and graduated in 1965. After high school, he attended Dakota Wesleyan University and South Dakota State University, where as a freshman he won the prestigious award of “Corn King.”

Ray joined the South Dakota National Guard in 1967, where he proudly served his country for the next 36 years. With his skilled maintenance position, he became a leading expert in many areas of his field, teaching others his knowledge nationwide. He retired from the South Dakota National Guard in 2003.

Ray met Rhoni (Meng) Adam and was married January 8, 2003. After retirement from the South Dakota National Guard, Ray and Rhoni traveled down to Arizona every winter for eight years where they made many memories. He always remembered to bring back his wood carving projects for his loved ones.

Ray was fearless, especially when helping those he loved through difficult times. It was not unusual for him to call or visit if you were struggling. His kind heart was shown by being there for everyone. He was a man of faith who attended Sunday services regularly, unless a coyote was spotted.

Ray had an enormous impact on the community. He was 33 years sober at the time of his passing, which is a prime example of his perseverance and character. Ray dedicated many hours to local Alcoholics Anonymous groups where he was an active board member. He strived to be a light for those who needed it.

Ray’s passions can be remembered and highlighted in three simple words: hunting, the color red, and farming. Many fond memories from loved ones include riding in Ray’s truck, chasing after coyotes, and working the land with him. Ray loved the color red, and it showed in his choice of pickups, tractors, and decorations. Ray’s red pickup truck will no doubt be missed running the gravel roads of the Mount Vernon area.

Ray’s passion for farming began at a young age, caring for livestock and land. He was an active member in 4-H— showing many years at the South Dakota State Fair. At age 14, Ray started raising Chester White hogs and Horned Hereford Cattle alongside his dad.

Most of all Ray loved his family. He loved spending countless hours giving his kids and grandkids a “hard-time” which gave him great joy. His patriotism and love for family and country could be seen annually during his 4th of July celebrations.

Ray is survived by his wife: Rhoni; six children: Jason (Rita) Hanson of Alexandria, Melinda Hanson of Lombard, IL, Eric Hanson of Sioux Falls, Adam (Susie) Hanson of Renner, Jordan Adam (Dan Diede) of Woonsocket, Jessica (Nick) Lachnit of Mitchell; eleven and three-quarters grandchildren: Emily (fiancé Luke Wodahl), Abby, Miranda, Kaden, Victor, Lincoln, Gauge, Lucas, Mavis, Levi, Letty, Lachnit Baby April 2021; siblings: Nancy Hanson Brady of Mt. Vernon, Linda Hanson of Fulton, Debra (Mike) Sudbeck of Mt. Vernon, Todd Hanson of Mt. Vernon; father and mother in-law: Lloyd and Shirley Meng of Yankton; brother-laws: Jason (Virginia) Meng of Montana, Jess (Debbie) of Wisconsin; sister in-law: Lauren (Erick) Walker of Yankton.

He was preceded in death by his parents.



Thursday, April 1, 2021
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Resurrection Lutheran Church
4013 N Main St
Mitchell, SD 57301


Friday, April 2, 2021
10:00 AM
Resurrection Lutheran Church
4013 N Main St
Mitchell, SD 57301


Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery
Rural Mt. Vernon, SD

Posted by Steve Tollefson on June 21, 2021
to the Hanson's, Brady's & Sudbeck families I feel for all of you it has been an abnormal way to deal with grief and loss the reality of the pandemic has changed how we are able to deal with all the timing and ability to get together to do what is we do for each other at the same time there are no rules to how we feel and how long it takes to deal with or get through such a time may your understanding and love for each other help you as well as and the support of friends and family am so sorry that you are gong through i knew Ray not only was my friends brother but at times in and around town he often made time to say hi and talk even just for a few moments I liked that about him even though he was older than us boys my dad and our family thought highly of this entire family
Posted by Marybeth Howe on April 2, 2021
My sincere sympathy to the family of my cousin, Ray. I always enjoyed my family vacations to SD. I have fond memories of Ray on his family's farm. May Jesus -the Good Shepherd surround you with His comfort and peace.
Marybeth Howe
Posted by Jerry and Jo Ann Duxbury on April 1, 2021
Our deepest sympathy to the Hanson family. So many memories of our friend, Ray. NASCAR and sitting under the patio in AZ and looking at the Superstition Mountain. You could always count on Ray to be there to help with a project or just to talk. He was a true friend. Rest in peace.
Posted by Ken Schoenfelder on April 1, 2021
Our prayers go out to Ray’s family. I was fortunate to serve with Ray and was a beneficiary of his knowledge and loved his positive attitude no matter the situation. He always gave to others to make them better.
Posted by William Brummett, Sherri, David, Donny, Dustin. on April 1, 2021
Ray and his family were neighbor's and friends of our family and the kids were close friends also. He will be alwsys in our hearts. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES. GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN 😀
Posted by Robert Sipe on April 1, 2021
Ray was a great man. I remember him in his uniform as a young man while visiting the family. I had an opportunity a few years back to have a nice meeting and conversation at our family reunion. Sure sorry to see him go. God bless his memory!
Posted by Darwyn & Jan Persson on March 31, 2021
Our thoughts are with your family. Sorry to hear of Ray's passing.
Posted by Deb Tilton on March 31, 2021
Deepest sympathy Deb and family. R.I.P Ray
Posted by Alan Nicolaisen on March 31, 2021
Ray was always a “character” and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him at the Maintanence Shop as well as with him and his family on the farm years ago. Rest easy my friend and may God welcome you home and comfort your family.
Posted by arlene and Jerry Bambas on March 31, 2021
so sorry for your loss. Ray and his family have always been great friends to us and Shawn. RIP
Posted by Gregg Brower on March 30, 2021
I had the honor of serving with Ray in the National Guard, he taught me an awful lot in my younger years. He was a great guy, your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Posted by Dwayne and Zona (Scott) Vig on March 30, 2021
Sincere condolences to the family of my classmate. You can be so very proud of his being sober for 33 years. Many good memories from the bus rides and days at Mount Vernon High School.
Posted by Pat Helgeland on March 30, 2021
Nancy and Deb, I was sorry to hear about Ray. Please know you and the family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Posted by Charlie and Vicki Larson on March 30, 2021
RIP Sir may God give your family peace.
Posted by A Veteran on March 30, 2021
Thanks for serving
Posted by Eddie Titze on March 30, 2021
Ray always had a smile on his face, knew your name and had a welcome and a funny thing to say. HE was a sweetheart!
Posted by Donna (Dvorak) Thomson on March 30, 2021
Many, many fond memories with Ray, always a bright light to be around. My deepest sympathy goes out to the family, may God wrap his arms around you all and help you find comfort during this difficult time.
Posted by Tim and Millie Wermers on March 30, 2021
Always enjoyed visiting with Ray when I ran into him in town. Also the good times in school. Our sympathy to his family.
Posted by Joyce and Rusty Weinberg on March 30, 2021
So sorry for your loss
Posted by DeAnna & Delbert Hiemstra on March 29, 2021
Rest in peace my friend of many years! Our sincere sympathy to the Ray Hanson family.
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