Ivan Franklin Hancock was born June 4, 1934, the seventh and last child of Fredrick Lionel and Hazel Pearl Barney Hancock. There were five sisters and then the two boys; Myrtle, Bessie, Viola, Peggy, LaRue, and Fred Jr. His middle name Franklin is the name of both his grandfathers, Franklin Van Buren Barney and Franklin Lionel Hancock. Ivan thrived at their old family homestead between Solomonville and Safford, growing up with his siblings on their mother’s famous homemade bread and beans. The homestead had been in the family since 1895. Family members first arrived to the Gila Valley as early as 1882 because of the calls of Brigham Young and John Taylor.
Ivan learned the value of being frugal and working hard at a young age. He helped his family by picking cotton by hand, but he refused to milk the cow. As a teenager, his tender, quiet, and loving nature came through as he helped his mother with part of his paycheck working at local service stations. He continued caring for his mother in many ways throughout her life after his father’s passing in 1974, up until her death in 1995.
Ivan and his siblings graduated from Solomonville Elementary School and Safford High School. Ivan attended Eastern Arizona College, taking some mechanic classes. In 1953, he decided it was a good time to make a change and moved to Glendale, Arizona, to work for his sister, Bessie, and her husband in their drilling business. It was there that he was introduced to the mobile home, RV parks, and sales business and where he would later start his career in manufactured housing, but most importantly, where he met his beloved wife, Kathryn Tenney. They were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple on June 18, 1956.
Soon after their marriage, he was drafted into the United States Army and placed in the 95th Headquarters Company as a tank mechanic. He was assigned in Germany during peacetime. Ivan sharpened his skills at buying, selling, and trading as he would buy motorcycles from local Germans and sell them to the service men. He was blessed with the ability of recognizing a good bargain and making a deal. He was well known for his kindness and unselfishness in helping others.
Following his military discharge in 1958, Ivan and Kathryn lived in Glendale and built their first mobile home park, The Bethany Grand. Three of their children were born while living there. In 1968, they moved to Safford and began building the Ivanho Mobile Home Park on the same property where he was born (now known as Safford Ranch). Three more children joined the family. Many of his children’s most cherished memories are working alongside their dad in the family businesses.
Ivan and Kathryn recently celebrated 63 years of marriage. They have five sons and one daughter; Robert Ivan, of Solomon, Gregory Lynn (Karla), of Mesa, Richard Noble (deceased), Eric Fredrick (Emily), of Solomon, Jared Peterson (Krista), of Solomon, and Sally Ann McBride (Marshall), of Safford. Their posterity includes 43 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
Ivan was a faithful lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in ward and stake positions. Ivan is also survived by two sisters, Peggy Hancock Esplin (Israel), of Orderville, Utah, and LaRue Hancock Harper Harris, of Safford.
Ivan passed away peacefully at his home, Monday, June 24, 2019, with his loving wife Kathryn at his side. He had just celebrated his 85th birthday. The family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to Eden Hospice for the professional and loving care given during Ivan’s last months.
Services will be held Monday, July 8, at the Solomonville Ward Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 10 a.m., with a viewing beginning at 8 a.m. There will also be a viewing on Sunday evening, July 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel. Ivan’s final resting place will be at the Solomon Cemetery next to his son, Richard.
Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.