Cover photo for Don Hanscom's Obituary
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1927 Don Hanscom 2023

Don Hanscom

October 31, 1927 — July 18, 2023

Jacksonville, Oregon


Don Hanscom October 31, 1927 – July 18, 2023

Don was born to Lloyd and Lillian Hanscom, one of five children; Elton, Don, Jean,
Noreen and Norman. They were raised in the Applegate Valley and also lived in Central
Point growing up on the family farm. He started school at Union Town (Applegate) in
1933. He and his brother Elton were the only 1st graders and later attended a one room
school on Table Rock Road, riding his pony to school each day. His senior class was
one of the last group of students to attend Central Point High School. While growing up,
he helped his father raise and train Percheron draft horses to be used in local mining,
farming and logging operations.
He worked at various farming jobs during and after school, and at Camp White, which
at the time contained nearly 40,000 people and made it the second-largest city in
Oregon. One of his jobs was driving a crew truck of German soldiers. He also spent
time with beloved uncles, Warren and Wilaby Connor, helping with the potatoes crops in
Merrill, Oregon. He then served in the Merchant Marines during WWII. His ship which
was headed to Japan to drop off troops, was diverted from “harm’s way” by a typhoon. It
otherwise would have been at sea when the bomb was dropped. When he returned, he
married, childhood sweetheart, Vada Wright of Gold Hill in 1949. They were married
almost 74 years.
They made their first home at Blue Moon Ranch in Central Point where Don worked as
a ranch manager for John S. Day, overseeing land in Central Point, East Medford, and
Gold Rey Ranch along the Rogue River. Don and Vada moved their family to the 4000-
acre, Gold Rey Ranch, when the Blue Moon Ranch was split by the construction of
Interstate 5 in 1962. They lived at Gold Rey for 62 years.
At Gold Rey Ranch, (now Gold Rey Estates), he raised cattle, buffalo and helped layout
and establish two subdivisions along the beautiful Rogue River. He helped construct an
airport on top of Table Rock for flying in prospective home buyers. Along with
constructing the road through Gold Rey Estates, he helped build a lake on the ranch to
enhance building site appeal. During his time working for John Day, he assisted, Mr.
Day on many of Day’s adventures, training for cross country ski events, various hunting
trips, preparing for a climb of Mt. Denali in Alaska, planning a 4-day event for Georgia
Pacific corporation to entertain banking excess from major banks throughout the US,
and testing extreme outdoor gear. He and John forged a lifelong friendship. He also
managed his own herd of cattle and buffalo on the ranch and showed livestock at major
livestock shows on the West Coast. He held that position for over 20 years.

He then became manager of Ponderosa Buffalo Ranch in Burns, OR, He was originally
hired to manage the ranch of 38,000 acres and livestock, which included the largest
privately own “American Bison” herd in the US. Later because the buffalo herd was
infected with brucellosis, the OR Dept of Ag hired Don to manage and irradicate the
disease to protect Oregon cattle and bison.
After that task was completed, he became Manager of Jackson Country Fair Manager,
1972 – 77. During his tenue there, he helped the county purchase land in Central Point
for the fair which is now known as Jackson County Expo. He planned out many of the
existing buildings still at the site. He then worked as a County Assessor, until he
became Manager of the Josephine County Fair, in 1979, where he had won the title of
“All Around Cowboy” at the rodeo in 1948.
During his tenure at the fair, he helped the fair grow and expand to maximize use and
provide an awarding winning fair. During his time as manager, the fair became the only
department within the county that was financially sustainable.
He was active in various organizations including; The Young Farmers, The Cattlemen’s
Association, (office of President), and National Buffalo Association, 4-H leadership,
Grants Pass Rotary, and the Elks. After retiring he served on the State County Fair
Commission, touring fairs throughout Oregon to judge and rate them.
Don was always an avid hunter and fisherman. Living on the Rogue River, he was able
to enjoy the Rogue River during its prime fishing. He drew one of only 5 tags issued in
OR for a mtn goat and was successful in his hunt. On a trip down the wild and scenic
lower Rogue, he caught a 50lb. salmon. He always loved gardening and was known for
his outstanding vegetable gardens.
Upon retiring he and Vada became snow birds, spending winters in the Palm Springs
area enjoying golf and social activities. He is survived by Vada, sister, Melody
Bramsen, daughter, Connie Gibbs, (Dan), son, Ron, Grandson, Justin (Natasha), and
great grandchildren Jax and Luna, and grandson, Mitchel, all of Nipomo, CA
A service and reception will be help at Table Rock Fellowship on Aug 26st at 11:00am.
Donations can be made to Jackson County 4H Assoc. Attn: D. Hanscom Fund, 569
Hanley Rd. C. P., OR 97502


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