February 7, 1931 – January 15, 2020
Juan Schwartz Hansen was born in Rupert, ID on February 7, 1931 to parents who had settled briefly near Monticello in 1919.
When circumstances forced Reno Tanner Hansen and Margaret Schwartz Hansen to relocate for a time, they found themselves missing San Juan County so much that they chose to memorialize their love for that place by naming their fourth child “Juan.”
The family returned to San Juan County in 1937, settling in Monticello when Juan was six years of age. Juan would call Monticello home for the next 82 years, until his passing on January 15, 2020.
Juan’s youth was spent working on the family farm on Summit Point northeast of Monticello, participating in sports at Monticello High School (he was a guard on the first MHS football team, and center on the basketball team, coached by Dale Maughan), and making lifelong friends.
After graduating from high school, he briefly attended Utah State University before enlisting with the military, where he was selected to serve in the Marine Corps for two years in Korea during the Korean War.
Upon his discharge from the service, he was called on an LDS mission to Denmark, where he served from 1953 to 1956 — an experience he relished and spoke of often and fondly throughout his life.
Shortly after returning to Monticello from his mission, Juan met Lorraine Jones from Blanding, and after a brief courtship, the two were wed on April 27, 1957. To this union were born five sons.
During the early years of his fatherhood, Juan homesteaded 320 acres northeast of Monticello, near his father’s land, but he supported his family by working in the uranium mines of San Juan County.
During his days as a miner, he was present in a mine when there was a natural gas explosion. Another mine at which he worked experienced a collapse while he was off-shift, killing some miners that he knew.
Because of those experiences, Juan left mining and turned to other work for a season, working as a cement truck operator, welder, and mechanic at Young’s Machine in Monticello, and got some farming in when he could.
In 1970 he purchased some land in addition to his homestead and turned to farming full-time.
It’s been said that one cannot really claim to know God, unless one understands His sense of humor. Clearly, dry farming in a desert at an elevation of 7,000 feet is one of His jokes.
Juan understood God’s sense of humor by choosing to believe that he could raise and support a family by putting seeds into the dry-farm soil and that the scant moisture would be enough to bring forth a sufficient increase, assuming the late frosts or untimely hailstorms did not waste the work.
Usually, he was right, and always he was happy, grateful for the freedom he had to work the land he loved, the land he was not only named for, but which was in him clear to his bones.
He was always grateful for the folks at Young’s Machine for their willingness to provide seasonal employment most winters while on hiatus from his farm work.
Many years later he drove truck for Blue Mountain Meats delivering food down to the Navajo Reservation.
Following a divorce in 1977, Juan married LouAnn, who was his steadfast companion for the remainder of his days. He welcomed her to Monticello in October 1979 and helped to raise her two youngest children, Staci and Kirk.
Juan loved his family. He relished visits from friends, family, and church visitors and always had a sincere interest in what they had to say. He was continuously inclined to offer encouragement with a cheery wit and felt best when he could elicit a smile or a laugh with anything he said.
A yearly highlight for him was having his house and yard fill up with family reuniting during the annual Pioneer Days celebration in July.
Days filled with visiting, prairie dog hunting, reminiscing, laughing, and topped off with Lou Ann’s scrumptious Navajo Tacos and post-fireworks root beer floats made golden memories for the entire family he drew around him in his happy home.
Juan is preceded in death by his parents and all his siblings, including a sister, LaReve, who passed away at age nine when he was 10 years of age; by a son, Boyd (1992); daughter, Angie (2013; and grandson, Tyler (2002).
Juan is survived by his wife (LouAnn) and children (Steven, David, Scott, Alan, Debbie, GayAnn, Staci, Kirk), 29 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.