Merle Leroy Hanson

June 26, 1937-May 21, 2023

Merle Leroy Hanson of Cordova was a beloved grandfather, father, and husband who passed away at Cordova Community Medical Center on May 21 at the age of 85, following a brief illness. He was born on June 26, 1937 in Great Falls, Montana to Martin and Blossom Hanson.  

He grew up in Choteau, Montana, and spent a few years with the United States Navy prior to attending and graduating from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. Go Griz!

After completing college, he accepted a teaching job in Cordova. This is where he met and married the love of his life, Barbara Hanson, on April 16, 1969. She was his wife for over 53 years.

He is survived by his wife Barbara; their two children, Ardy Hanson (Laura) of Cordova and Kelly Raby (Michael) of Sunderland, Maryland; and his grandchildren Makayla of Denton, Maryland, Haleigh (deceased), Ashlynne of Denton, Maryland, Jaidyn Raby of Sunderland, Maryland, and Elias and Cole Hanson of Cordova. Merle is also survived by his brother and two sisters: Harvey Hanson (Debbie) of Washington, Kathy Hertz (Ken)of Washington, and Barbara Evitt (Scott) of Oregon. 


Merle was a junior high science and health teacher at Cordova High School for over 20 years, as well as a Junior and Senior High basketball coach. He was also a commercial fisherman for many years.

Merle was a member of the local Elks Lodge. He moved through the chairs to ultimately become Exalted Ruler as well as Elk of the Year 1985 to 1986. Merle was also a member of the Jaycees Club, the Sons of Norway, the Moose Lodge, and Pioneers. He also served as a member of the CEC board.

Merle spent many hours watching his beloved Cordova Wolverines, the University of Montana Grizzlies, the Seattle Seahawks, and Seattle Mariners – all of which he was an avid fan of. He loved fishing, hunting, getting together with friends and family, and anything Norwegian. UFF DA!

There was nothing more important to Merle than his family. He was so proud of each and every one of them, and always boasted about their many accomplishments.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to or the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department. The family will have a Celebration of Life in the near future.