Cover photo for Reinhold Melvin Hanson (Mel Hanson)'s Obituary
Reinhold Melvin Hanson (Mel Hanson) Profile Photo

Reinhold Melvin Hanson (Mel Hanson)

Reinhold Melvin Hanson (Mel Hanson)

Mel Hanson passed away due to heart failure on Thursday, January 7, 2021 in Sun Lakes, Arizona. He was born on January 15, 1930 in Boone, Iowa, the son of Reinhold Magnus Hanson and Stella Hanson (Meyer).

After graduation from Boone High School in 1948, he attended Boone Junior College and AIB in Des Moines. Upon college graduation in 1951, he was a member of the Iowa National Guard and was activated at the beginning of the Korean conflict. He was stationed at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine.

Returning to Boone in 1952, he went to work in the family business (S. Hanson Lumber Co.). In 1962 he left to form his own export-import business. He also developed and patented an electric sauna bath heating unit, marketing through dealer network. In 1966, he sold the business and returned to manage the family business of several lumberyards in central Iowa. The last lumberyard was closed on October 31, 2004 and he officially retired in 2005.

He had a lifelong love for trains. In the early 1980’s he helped organize and was one of the original incorporators of the Boone Railroad Historical Society, aka, the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad.  He served as an officer and director of the society. In 1988 he traveled to China to tour the Datong Locomotive Works factory after reading an article in the National Geographic featuring steam locomotives. In 1989, the society raised enough money to purchase one of the last ones produced on the assembly line for their museum.

He married Gloria Carmen of Des Moines in August 1949. They had 5 children. The couple divorced in 1973.

In 1975, he married Marilyn Doran. The couple divorced in 1983.

Mel was preceded in death by his parents R.M. and Stella, his sister Darlene Ahrens and his son Chris in 2005. He is survived by his sister, Joreen Boehm of Boone, a brother-in-law, Arnold Ahrens of Boone, three sons, David of Clear Lake, Iowa; Ross (Gerlie) of Sun Lakes, AZ; Kirk of Sun Lakes, AZ and a daughter Nikki (Tim) Mullins of Boone, Iowa. He has 5 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be planned for later in the spring of 2021 in Boone, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Boone and Scenic Railroad in Boone, Iowa or to the family to be used at their discretion, in care of Nikki Mullins, 333 S. Greene St, Boone, IA 50036.

Online condolences may be expressed at
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