Douglas Roger Hanson, a World War II veteran and inventor, died on July 19 in a work-related accident. He was 83.
Hanson was stationed in Africa as a B-17 crew chief for the Army Air Forces during World War II. Although he wanted to become a pilot, the military rejected him for medical reasons (he had red-green color blindness). Upon his return to Minnesota, Hanson worked as a farmer, but in his spare time he tinkered with machines.
After creating a better bread-slicing contraption for a local company, he opened Bake Star Inc. For more than three decades, Hanson developed commercial baking machinery for major manufacturers, such as Bakers Square and Sara Lee. He held more than a dozen patents for machines that could shave chocolate into decorative scrolls, imprint shapes into dough and remove flour or dust from unbaked goods.
A member of the American Society of Bakery Engineers and the Coon Rapids (Minn.) VFW, Hanson was killed at work while fixing the shop’s hydraulic brake press. According to his son Gary, Hanson stuck his head inside the machine to watch its downward motion, but when he tried to pull back, a piece of metal caught him by the neck and the press crushed him.