Donald K. Hanes, 90, an outspoken advocate for farmer-owned cooperatives, and patron to a generation of co-op writers and editors, died April 13, 2023 at Lorien Taneytown Assisted Living, of congestive heart failure.
A 1955 University of Illinois journalism graduate, he directed communications and member relations for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Washington, from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. Born and raised on an Oregon, IL, dairy farm, settled by his great grandfather in 1846, Mr. Hanes lived in the Rockville, MD area for 45 years prior to his death.
In 1979, Mr. Hanes produced “From This Land,” a film about contributions of family farmers to America and its citizens. It was shown as a short subject in movie theatres throughout the country, and received a Gold Medal Award from the U.S. Industrial Film Festival. From 1975 until 1982, he conducted a public image campaign for farmer co-ops in the Washington media. It included testimonials for preserving farmer co-ops’ basic law from President Jimmy Carter, Agriculture Secretary Bob Bergland, House Agriculture Chairman Tom Foley (D-WA), Senate Finance Chairman Russell Long (D-LA), and Senator Bob Dole (R-KS). In 1994, he was a co-producer of “The Spirit of Cooperation,” a co-op documentary shown widely on the PBS network.
He was the recipient of professional awards for outstanding achievement from the Agricultural Relations Council, Cooperative Communicators Association, Advertising Council of Cooperatives, and the National Planning Committee for Co-op Month.
Mr. Hanes served as board chairman of Greenbelt Cooperative, Inc., Greenbelt, MD, from 1985-87. He also served in various leadership positions of that organization and its successor, United Cooperative Services, from 1980-92. He was chairman of the Maryland Cooperative Law Coalition, which successfully led efforts to enact a consumer co-op law in Maryland during 1986. Later, he served on the boards of the Cooperative Development Foundation, and the United Co-op Appeal, Washington, DC.
He was a co-founder of the Chesapeake Chapter of the National AgriMarketing Association, and a member of the National Press Club. He was listed in Who’s Who in America from 1990 until 2005. He was a patron of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, Chicago, in memory of his second generation Lithuanian wife. He was a Mason, and a member of Rockville United Methodist Church.
Commissioned in the U.S. Army Reserves in 1955, Mr. Hanes served on active and reserve duty for 10 years, and was honorably discharged as Captain, Quartermaster Corps, in 1965.
His wife of 43 years, Patricia Elsberg Hanes, preceded him in death in 2003. He is survived by his brother, Robert L. Hanes of Oregon, IL; and three daughters: Deborah A. Stewart of Finksburg, MD; Dawn M. Roark of Taneytown, MD; Katherine E. Chandler of Urbana, MD; and six grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home, P.A., 136 E. Baltimore St., Taneytown, MD 21787. Family will receive friends from 1 p.m. until the time of the service.
Donations in Mr. Hanes’ memory may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2211 N Oak Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60607, or to Oregon Masonic Lodge, C/O Samuel J. Thomas (Lodge Secretary), 1258 W. Indian Heights Drive, Oregon, IL 61061.