Former Anchorage resident Dr. Richard Hanks lost his battle with cancer on Dec. 28, 2013, at his home in Omak, Wash. Richard was born in Ithaca, N.Y., on Jan. 7, 1934 to Elton K. and Beulah D. Hanks. He graduated from Ithaca High School in 1951. Richard married Donna White in 1955, graduating the same year from Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.). He went on to University of Buffalo (New York), graduating with his D.D.S. in 1959.
Richard was inducted into the Army in 1959, fulfilling his ROTC obligation at Fort Mead, Md., where he spent a year before transferring to Fort Richardson in Alaska for the next three years.
After his honorable discharge, he purchased a dental practice in Tupper Lake, N.Y., where the family spent the next two years, before returning to Anchorage in 1966, where he continued his private practice. In 1977, the family moved to Omak, Wash., where Richard purchased an apple orchard and spent 11 years pursuing his interest in agriculture. Upon retirement, he developed Summerwind subdivision on a parcel of the family orchard.
As a young man, Richard loved flying and owned several planes. An avid trapper in his youth, he enjoyed running his trap lines with his beagles. During his time at Fort Richardson, Richard enjoyed hunting and a treasured trophy was one of the last legal polar bears taken by a non-native Alaskan. His other trophies included caribou, Dall sheep, black bear and brown bear. Always an avid marksman, vintage firearms, target shooting and reloading were an interest that continued into his later years.
Richard and family participated in an all-Alaska hobby, raising and racing sled dogs, for many years. He was associated with Alaska Sled Dog and Racing Association (ASDRA), competing in many races throughout Alaska. A fifth place finish in the annual world championship Fur Rendezous sled dog race in Anchorage was one of his most satisfying personal achievements.
A voracious reader, Richard always had multiple books going, ranging from non-fiction novels to political biographies. He was well versed in national politics and his keen knowledge of many subjects meant he could discuss and debate with the best, and he always loved a good argument.
He is survived by wife, Donna; daughters, Karen Arndt and Elaine Hanks, both of Spokane, Wash.; daughter, Nancy Barton (Jeff) of Bremerton, Wash.; son Thomas (Vicky) of Sweet Home, Ore.; grandchildren Eric Pfeiffer, Zachary Hawkins, and Cory Hanks; and great-grandchildren Riley, Journey, and Cash.
Richard was preceded in death by parents, Elton and Beulah; son, Richard, Jr.; brother, Kenneth; and sister, Geraldine.
A private memorial was at the family’s home in Omak.