Douglas B. Hanson, Ph.D.

Douglas B. Hanson

Douglas B. Hanson

Douglas B. Hanson, Ph.D., 61, died June 17, 2013 in Huntington, WV after a long illness due to complications of a bone marrow transplant received in 2007 to treat leukemia. He was a retired research scientist, archaeologist, and Renaissance man who deeply loved his family and friends.

He was born in Pasadena, CA in 1952 to Harlow Francis and Margaret Ruth (Lorbeer) Hanson. Upon graduating high school, he attended Prescott College where he forged his lifelong interests in anthropology, science and literature. He went on to obtain his Ph.D. from Cornell University in biological anthropology. His friends and colleagues describe him as an intellectual giant and gentleman.

He marveled that life allowed him to travel to faraway places and work with some of the greatest names in physical anthropology. He conducted the majority of his fieldwork in the Four Corners region of the United States, the islands of Yap, Ulithi, and Palau in the eastern Carolines of Micronesia, and all of the major islands of the Marianas archipelago. His passion for fieldwork also lead him to research sites in Nevada, Illinois, Missouri, New York, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, Iceland, and South Africa.

He worked at The Forsyth Institute in Boston first as a research scientist and later as the Chief Technology Officer/Executive Director of Information Systems. While ill, he accomplished a major goal of securing funding for a state-of-the-art data center which was completed, named after him and dedicated in October of 2012. He considered it his pleasure and his duty to mentor and encourage his co-workers as well as to do everything he could to facilitate their work.

While he took pride in his academic and professional achievements, he considered his daughter, K.T. (Katherine Tigner) Hanson to be his greatest accomplishment. He is also survived by his fiancé, Connie Leinen; former wife, Claire C. Gordon; sister-in-law, Martha Gordon, and her husband, Roy Welburn; and two sisters, Deborah Gagnon and Victoria Weeks. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Grant Hanson.

He loved travel, reading, Mexican food, lobster, a well-told tale, and the anonymous donor that allowed him to live long enough to see his daughter graduate from Notre Dame, beginning her own career in anthropology.

He wished to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in the places he loved. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Douglas B. Hanson Anthropology Library Fund, c/o City National Bank, ATTN: Ann Kipp, 1900 Third Avenue, Huntington, WV 25703. The donations will be used to supplement the anthropology library holdings at Prescott College. He would be delighted at the thought of a student developing a passion for anthropology after coming across a book in the library.

The family greatly appreciates the love and support pouring in from all corners of the earth. As Doug so enjoyed story-telling, please consider sharing one on his tribute page at

2 thoughts on “Douglas B. Hanson, Ph.D.

  1. Pingback: Grief | W. Va. Fur and Root

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