Arnold N. Hokanson


April 5, 2023

Arnold N. Hokanson, 91, passed away due to natural causes on Friday, March 24, 2023. Cremation has taken place, and at his request, no services will be held. Arnold requested that memorial donations be made in his memory to the Dedman Animal Shelter and Foundation in Fort Benton, the Montana State University-Northern Diesel Mechanic's Program in Havre, or the charity of the donor's choice. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Please visit Arnold's online memorial page to send a card or leave a message of condolence for his family at

Arnold was born in Havre on September 7, 1931, to Nels and Belle (Anderson) Hokanson. He was raised on the family ranch located in the Warrick area of the Bears Paw Mountains. Upon the death of his father in 1961, Arnold bought the ranch from his mother and continued the operation. Arnold and Joy "Sug" Peterson were united in marriage in Big Sandy on August 25, 1968. Joy became a working partner in the ranch in every sense of the word.

The Hokansons retired from the cattle business in the fall of 1996, although they retained ownership of the ranch and continued to make it their home. They proceeded to lease the ranch out for a number of years, before being sold in 2014, and the Hokansons retired to a home near Havre. The couple elected to have no children.

Although kept busy with the ranch operation, Arnold through the years was involved with many other activities as well. At one point, he did membership work for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. He served as a director of the North Central Montana Stockgrowers Association, and was one of the founders of the Montana Land & Mineral Owners Association. One action which Arnold considered one of his more worthwhile involvements occurred the year of 2005, when he, acting as the original plaintiff, signed into a class action suit against the Devon Corporation, which resulted in a 5 million dollar settlement for the area royalty owners.

Arnold became interested in cowboy poetry during the late eighties and made his initial appearance as a cowboy poet at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, in 1991, as a featured poet.

Arnold introduced North Central Montana to cowboy poetry. Working with Havre's Hill County librarian, Bonnie Williamson, they formed the Montana Country Poets and Pickers group. Among other things, they produced an annual gathering in Chinook, Montana, on the second weekend of April each year. Arnold will be missed.

Arnold had no hobbies. Whatever activity in which he became involved soon became a business venture. Through the years, he wrote and published books of cowboy poetry, short stories, and five novels. He also wrote numerous stories, articles, and columns for various publications.

Arnold claimed many times that he thought that the world would have been a better place without him. Still it remains to be seen how many empty pages in life will be left by his passing. Contrary to Arnie's belief, he will be missed by many.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Nels and Belle Hokanson, and two sisters, June Collins and May Mallon Schwartzbach.

Arnold is survived by his wife, Sug, of Havre; nieces, Connie Mallon and Karen Lockhart; brother-in-law, Bruce (Evelyn) Peterson; and sister-in-law, Sharon Geyer.


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