Samuel King "Bob" Hanna died June 23, 2020, at Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital in Glendale, Arizona, due to complications from COVID-19. Bob was born Nov. 5, 1920, in Bridgeport to Don Emerson Hanna and Wynona (Severence) Hanna. He attended schools in Brownlee, Thedford and Valentine. An enthusiastic boxer from a young age, Bob staged timed rounds with his cousin, Jack, and was undefeated as a junior and senior at the Nebraska School of Agriculture in Curtis. After high school, he attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for two years. "I didn't do well in college," he once wrote with characteristic honesty. "I subconsciously thought if I was going to ranch, I didn't need an education. Pretty dumb, I know, but that was the way I was thinking." After cutting his college education short, Bob became part of the early war effort by moving to Los Angeles in 1941 to work at a Lockheed Aircraft factory. Meanwhile, he was corresponding with Belva Miller, a young woman from Broken Bow and Mullen whom he'd met on the family ranch earlier that summer. In 1942, he convinced her to come to Los Angeles, where they were married in a small chapel on Wilshire Boulevard. They both worked at Lockheed, making the same wage, $1/hour. After paying rent and taxes, they had just enough left over to make their way back to Pass Ranch in Brownlee, where they awaited Bob's draft notice and the birth of their first child. Bob served in the Army, reporting for duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in August, 1943. After completing basic training at Buckley Field, outside of Denver, he was sent to Aerial Gunnery School for the B-17 bomber in Kingman, Arizona, then to train as an instructor in Fort Meyers, Florida. He was reunited with Belva and their son after being stationed in Ardmore, Oklahoma, with his final post being McDill Field in Tampa, Florida. "I was only in the service for less than three years, but it seemed much longer," he wrote. "Even today it seems like an awful lot happened in my life in that short time." At the end of World War II, Bob received his discharge and returned to the Sandhills to devote himself to ranching and building a family. After Robert Samuel, they added to their family with the births of Tommy Dan, Janice Ann and Lynda June. All of the children worked on the ranch and attended the local one-room schoolhouse, although Bob built a home in Valentine in 1960 so they could attend high school in town. All the while, Bob and his brothers, Francis and Don Jr., continued the work of ranching. In addition to serving as president of the Nebraska Stock Growers Association, Bob was recognized in 2003 for 60 years of service as a Master Mason. Curious, mischievous, and eager to engage with the people around him, whether a familiar face or complete stranger, Bob made friends, or at least a strong impression, wherever he went. It's a trait that served him well when he and Belva relocated to Arizona in 1977 to start a new life in retirement. No longer tied to the ranch's demanding schedule, Bob and Belva enjoyed golfing, playing cards and visiting with friends, and travel, attending the commencements and weddings of 10 grandchildren living all over the country. Given the chance, he was quick to brag about their activities and accomplishments. Always a Nebraskan at heart, Bob and Belva returned to the Sandhills many times over the years to catch up with family and friends. Decades later, he could recall the names and dispositions of the horses he had trained on the ranch, his favorites being Jiggs, Maggie and Flash. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Belva, in 2018; and brothers, Don Jr. and Francis. In addition to his grandchildren, Bob is survived by his children, Robert (Carol) Hanna of Ft. Collins, Colorado, Tom (Judy) Hanna of Sun Lakes, Arizona, Janice (Allen) English of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Lynda (Tom) Rolland of Grand Junction, Colorado; 16 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery in Valentine at a date to be determined.
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