Anna May Secrest Hanson 84, of Bowman, ND passed away suddenly on Feb. 2, 2021.
Anna May (Ann) was born on April 9, 1936, the second of eight children born to Melvin and Mary FitzGerald. Her early years were spent on the family ranch east of Jordan in Garfield County. She attended Flat Creek School completing the 8th grade. In 1949 the family relocated to Charlo, MT where she attended Charlo High School graduating in 1954. After graduating, she returned to Miles City and found work as a telephone operator.
In 1960, she married Walt Secrest and for the next 23 years they made their home on the ranch west of Cohagen. A son Cotton was born in 1962. She worked tirelessly and was instrumental in developing a strong breeding program that provided a good ranch as well as rodeo and pick-up horses. During this time, she began helping Walt in the arena and soon became a sought after pick-up man (woman) at rodeos in Montana and as far away as Wisconsin. Of the countless areas she worked in, her favorites were the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale and the Match of Champions at Home On The Range in Sentinel Butte, ND.
In 1983 Ann moved to Miles City and worked at the Eagles Manor and was a mail carrier from Miles City to Jordan. While in Miles City she renewed her love of music and spent many happy hours playing drums, accordion and piano for local dances.
2001 Brought another move when Ann married Robert Hanson and moved to the Logging Camp Ranch in the beautiful badlands of North Dakota. Together they shared a love for good Quarter Horses. Ann looked forward to the new colt crop every spring but the highlight of her year was the weaning and sale of the colts in the fall. Ann loved writing Cowboy Poetry and enjoyed many years traveling and presenting her poems that she claimed were always based on “first hand knowledge” of the subject matter. In 2003, her lifelong commitment to western and rodeo lifestyle was rewarded with her induction into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, TX.
In later years she always looked forward to the annual FitzGerald reunion in Helena and spending time with her siblings. She also enjoyed seeing and hearing about the numerous exploits of her grandchildren and now great grandchildren.
Ann is survived by her husband Robert Hanson of the family ranch. A son Cotton (Bobbie) Secrest of Hardin, three grandchildren, Deanne (Brian) Gierke of Beulah, ND, Chad (Heather) Toavs of Sheperd, MT, Jimmie Lee (Will) Sparks of Plevna, MT, and six great-grandchildren Sean and Kayla Gierke, Kylie and Coil Toavs, and Charlee and Cotton Thomas (CT) Sparks.
A special recognition goes out to Robert’s son Ted and his family for all the love and support they provided after she moved to North Dakota. They were and continued to be a great help and source of comfort in her later years. The family would also like to recognize and thank Ty Blodgett for his unwavering commitment to helping Robert and Ann with whatever project (horse or otherwise) that made their lives easier. In summary, it’s hard to sum up a life so full and rich in a few short lines. So, “Mom, whatever you did, you did it your way.”
Visitation was held on Feb. 5, 2021 from 1 - 5 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. Funeral services were held on Feb. 6, 2021 at 1 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons funeral Home in Miles City. Interment followed in the family lot of the Custer County Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com. Should friends desire, memorials can be made to the Range Riders Museum or the charity of one’s choice.