American Patriotic 10

Rev. Maj. John David Hanscom

September 15, 1946 ~ December 26, 2016 (age 70)


The Rev. Maj. John David Hanscom, 70, died at home in Anchorage, Alaska, of a heart attack on Dec. 26, 2016.

He was born in Indianapolis, Ind., on Sept. 15, 1946, to Howard E. and Mary Flora (Sally) Wilson Hanscom.

He graduated from Indiana University in 1968, with a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling and Psychology; University of Oklahoma in 1977, with a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies; completed the University of the South four-year Education for Ministry program in 1986; and continued theological study throughout his life.

He married Roberta Lee (Ward) Hanscom on Aug. 26, 1967, in Logansport, Ind.

In 1968, he was commissioned an Air Force Officer. Maj. Hanscom was stationed briefly in Oklahoma, followed by Navigator and Electronic Warfare training at Mather and Castle Air Force Bases in California.

Transferred to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Mich., a Strategic Air Command Base in 1970. Maj. Hanscom served a tour of duty as an Electronic Warfare Officer in the B-52, flying from U Tapao, Thailand. He then was assigned as an EWO (Black Crow) in the AC130 Hercules Gunship. Returning to Thailand on Dec. 26, 1972, he flew AC130s from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base.

He was welcomed home on Dec. 24, 1973. After another year at Mather Air Force Base in the B-52, he was assigned to the RC135 Cobra Ball. With that assignment he came to Alaska in 1975, stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks (1975-1978). His duty alternated bi-weekly between Eielson and Shemya Station in the Aleutians.

Maj. Hanscom left Active Duty, moved to Anchorage, and continued his military career through the Alaska Air National Guard as a C130 Navigator for the next ten years. He was the Kulis ANG Social Actions Officer until his retirement in 1992.

After moving to Anchorage, John worked simultaneously in the Air Guard and the Child Protection Division of Family and Youth Services (now OCS) for five years. He then became a Custody Investigator for the Third Judicial District, traveling throughout Alaska. John retired from the Court in 2000. He continued as a private custody investigator through 2014.

John was confirmed in Sacramento, Calif., and devoted his gifts of music and leadership to the church. Following an intense year of study, he completed the Episcopal Bishop of the Armed Forces Lay Reader course. He was also a Lay Preacher and Lay Eucharistic Minister. On July 25, 2007, John was ordained a Deacon in The Episcopal Church. His primary parishes were Christ Church and St. Christopher's in Anchorage and the villages of Anvik, Shageluk and Grayling on the Lower Yukon River. He has been involved in Alaska Native ministry since coming to the state. Deacon John's last scheduled service was Christmas afternoon at Alaska Native Medical Center.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Deacon John is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Roberta; sons and daughters-in-law, Michael Hanscom and Prairie Brown of Ellensburg, Wash.; Kevin Hanscom and Emily Shroyer and grandsons, Noah, Paul and Wren Hanscom of Corvallis, Ore.; sister, the Rev. M. Susan Hanscom and brother, Douglas E. Hanscom; nephew, Eric; and nieces, Kayt and Hannah all of Indiana.

Deacon John's life will be celebrated on Jan. 7, 2017, at 2 p.m., at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 17545 North Eagle River Loop Rd, Eagle River, AK 99577.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Diocese of Alaska, 1205 Denali Way, Fairbanks, AK 99701.

Interment was in Logansport, Indiana at Mount Hope Cemetery with Full Military Honors on Sunday, June 12, 2022.


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