From the Digest

In Memoriam: Chuck Hanson

By Mike Hellmann (June 2019)

PhotoIt is with deep regret that I let you all know that Chuck Hanson passed away on May 14, 2019. Hanson was a dear friend to some of our members and was very supportive of our society. He spoke at several of our regional conferences. He was a speaker and vendor at the CSSA convention we hosted here in 2003. He also made the trip to speak and sell at our summer picnic in 2005.

We were fortunate that Hanson lived in the Omaha area for a while before moving to Ecuador to study orchids while he continued searching for more new and unknown succulents. He did indeed find a new Jatropha species, which several of us have in our collections today. Thanks to propagation efforts by Mike Masarra, this plant has been made available on a limited basis, although I haven’t seen it offered in recent years. We did have one in our rare plant auction this past June, thanks to a generous donation by Dan Mahr.

Chuck Hanson was not just a plantsman. He was a propagator extraordinaire, bringing many plants to our hobby that are now taken for granted, as well as many others that are seldom seen. He spent a big part of his life in Tucson, where he opened Arid Lands. There he worked with the plants brought back from overseas, learning how to propagate them and then making them available to the hobby at affordable prices. Unlocking the reproductive puzzles of these exotic plants was no small feat.

Hanson was a Korean War veteran, zoologist, game biologist, naturalist, educator, zoo curator and explorer. This is just a brief list of some of his accomplishments. He was also a candid, sharp-witted, yet kind individual whom I will never forget.

We are fortunate to have known Chuck Hanson, and I really wish that he would have been able to speak at our club’s conference last year. He made plans to take part, but due to health concerns, had to opt out.