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NEIL EUGENE HANSON 2 Oct. 1931 - 2 Dec. 2009 Neil Eugene Hanson passed away peacefully on the 2nd of December 2009, at home surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with cancer. Neil was born at home on the 2nd of October 1931 in Houston, Texas. He graduated in 1949 from St. Thomas High School. Shortly after that he met the love of his life, Barbara. They married on the 17th of November 1951. Neil continued his education at the University of Houston and received his geology degree in 1953. With 2 children in tow, Barbara and Neil moved to Corpus Christi where he worked for Union Sulphur Company. In 1957, thankfully he was transferred back to Houston where he joined George Mitchell's oil company. In 1958, he went to work for M.P.S. Production Co. as their only in- house geologist. After two more children were born, Neil took the big gamble of going out on his own as an independent oil operator. His intuition and tireless efforts eventually built one of the strongest independent exploration companies in the industry, Hanson Minerals Company. His company and family continued to grow with the birth of another son. Neil's business expanded into the drilling industry with his company, Southland Drilling Company. Right up until he passed away he received daily drilling reports, log analysis, and farm and ranch reports every morning. Neil played just as hard as he worked and his two great loves, aside from his family, were his ranch and his boats. He owned numerous power boats throughout the years, all appropriately named the "Wildcat." He and Barbara loved to entertain family and friends aboard the Wildcat and some of his greatest days were spent on the water. He traveled the entire Gulf Coast, the Atlantic Seaboard and much of the Bahamas. His equally favorite place was at his ranch in Nordheim, Texas, especially at Thanksgiving and Easter surrounded by his family. He loved driving the grandkids around looking for deer or hogs, burning a big fire at Neil's Sunset Bar & Grille, and simply enjoying his family. Neil treasured his Catholic education and made sure all of his children received one as well. He was extremely generous to numerous Catholic charities and schools throughout Houston and Texas. His generosity was not limited to Catholic causes alone as he was always ready to help out anyone who asked him, from buying a new transmission for his yardman, donating a school library, or building a baptismal font. Neil was a member of the AAPG, IPAA, TIPRO, and numerous other professional organizations and in 1989 he was selected to membership in the All American Wildcatters, whose creed is "My Word is My Bond." Neil lived by that creed his entire life. Neil is survived by his soul-mate and best friend, Barbara; his sons, Chris Hanson, Erik Hanson and wife Lisa, Kurt Hanson and wife Susan, and his much loved only daughter Tina and husband Ben McCarthy. He was preceded in death by his son, the late, Mike Hanson. His grandchildren include Tina Johnson and husband Jeremy, Christopher Hanson and Michelle, Michael Hanson and wife Jennifer, Burton Hanson, and Anah Marie Hanson, Jennifer McCarthy, Blake McCarthy, and Kate McCarthy, Luke Hanson and Elisabeth Hanson, and Chelsea Hanson, Caroline Hanson, and Kurt Hanson, and two great grandchildren, Christopher Johnson and Connor Hanson. Neil is also survived by brothers-in-law, Don McCrory and wife Pat, Mike McCrory, George Spring, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, and devoted friend and confidant, Leonard Roy. Honored to serve as casket-bearers during the services are his grandsons, Christopher, Michael, Burton, Luke, and Kurt Hanson, Blake McCarthy, Jeremy Johnson; and future grandson, Alex Perez. Standing as Honorary Pallbearers are Fred Oliver, Luke McConn, Hobby Van Zandt, Cy Waggoner, Harry Cullen, John Boswell, Jim Christmas, Tom Gholson, Dick Kruger, Forest Reese, Harley Tanner, and Ed Reeber. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock in the afternoon until eight o'clock in the evening on Sunday, the 6th of December, at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. During the visitation, an evening service of remembrance is to commence at seven o'clock, and the Most Rev. Vincent M. Rizzotto is to officiate. During both the evening service and the Mass of Christian Burial, personal remembrances and eulogies are to be offered by members of the Hanson family. The Mass of Christian Burial is to be conducted at ten o'clock in the morning on Monday, the 7th of December, at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 11720 Joan of Arc Drive in Houston, where the Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, the Most Rev. Vincent M. Rizzotto, and the Most Rev. John McCarthy are to concelebrate. The Rite of Committal will follow, via an escorted cortege, at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston. Immediately following the interment, all are invited to return to the Community Center of St. Cecilia Catholic Parish and greet the family during a reception. For those desiring, contributions in memory of Mr. Neil Hanson may be directed to St. Thomas High School, 4500 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX, 77007; St. Agnes Academy, 9000 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX, 77036; St. Cecilia's Catholic School, 11740 Joan of Arc Dr., Houston, TX, 77024; or to the Catholic school of one's choice. -->

Published in Houston Chronicle from Dec. 4 to Dec. 6, 2009
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