Douglas James Hanson lived in solitude for at least the last 17 years, on the streets and off the grid.
He is remembered with fondness by family and friends following the 60-year-old Eugene resident’s Jan. 3 death at a homeless camp in the Glenwood area.
“He was,” a social media post observed, “a good and gentle soul.”
Hanson is survived by his two adult sons and one grandson.
The oldest son, Ryan Hanson, is 34 years old and lives in New Orleans where, among other things, he runs an Etsy business. The youngest son, Max Hanson, is 29. He lives in Eugene with his 6-year-old son.
Dan Best, stepfather to Ryan and Max, spoke to Eugene Weekly about Doug Hanson.
“The demons were just too much for him,” Best says of Hanson, adding that the general societal problems of mental illness, addiction and homelessness present “a terrible situation for everybody.”
Doug Hanson was married to Lillian (Lilly) Best, a registered nurse, and their sons were born in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Best says that Hanson had worked at Track Town Pizza and United Pipe & Supply Company in Eugene.
After a divorce, Lilly married Best, and Best notes that following that divorce, Hanson saw his sons on the weekends. “After a number of years,” however, Hanson slid further into the abyss and started camping. That was, Best estimates, roughly 17 years ago.
From there, Best says, the sons had “very minimal — I mean, very minimal contact” with their father.
Best last bumped into Hanson in 2017 and took the photo of him that accompanies this obituary. Lilly died later that year.
Doug Hanson is the first homeless person known to have died on the streets in Lane County in 2021. No cause of death has been listed, and no memorial is planned.
Eugene Weekly seeks to run an obituary for every person who dies homeless in Lane County in 2021. This is the fourth we’ve published so far. If you know of someone who has died here while homeless this year, please let us know at Editor@EugeneWeekly.com.