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We miss our dear precious Hank Hankins

Jul 20th, 2017 | Category: Stories

The story of  James “Hank” Hankins was written by his sister , who misses her brother terribly. She begins from the time of his birth in 1958 in Hugo, Oklahoma, to the premature and sudden end of his life this year [2012]  in Texarkana. The family plans to create a memorial garden and his scholarship fund in his honor. They don’t want to focus on the Bowie County authorities who seemed to have ignored his illlness and suffering. Instead they want to point out the value of Hank’s life and the great affection many people felt toward him.

RIP Hank. We won’t forget you.

James Hankins was born in Hugo, Oklahoma in 1958.  His parents were Shirley and  Billy  Hankins.  He has two sisters Pat and Mary and one brother Billy. James moved to  Simms,  Texas when he was just a baby.  His dad owned cattle and when he was old  enough he loved  helping tend to them.  He was ready to help with anything related to  the  cattle including  doctoring, branding and feeding. He loved riding horses. His first  horse  was a Welch buckskin  he named Buck.

James graduated from Simms High School in 1977.  He loved sports and was  quarterback for the football team.  He was very handsome and popular.  His senior year he was named Mr. James Bowie High School and FHA Beau.  He was known to most as “Hank,” short for Hankins.

He loved the outdoors and was always hunting and fishing.  He was passing these passions on to his grandson Devin before he was suddenly taken from him.  He took him on many camping and fishing trips. In June 2012, he took five kids on a fishing expedition and they caught over fifty fish.

He also loved sports and was always rooting for the Oklahoma Sooners football team.  He was a true OU fan and loved watching the games with his two daughters Ashley and Kristal. His three grandchildren Devin, Ashia, and Kyler were his pride and joy.  He took Devin and Ashley to a Rangers baseball game this past 2012 summer; Kyler was too young to go.  He never missed any of Devin’s T Ball games and took him to many of his practices and made sure Devin had new cleats and glove to play ball with.  Before James went to Bi State he had made a promise to take Devin to a “real rodeo,” he fulfilled that promise and while there Devin entered a sheep riding contest and walked away with a trophy.

He worked hard to be able to do things with his daughters and grandkids.  These things made him the happiest.  He had a trophy made for Devin before his sentencing that said “World’s Greatest Grandson from Paw Paw.” He adored all of his grandbabies.

When he got with his buddies he liked to play dominos and cook on the grill.  James favorite foods were pork chops, steak and chili he liked to grill out for his family.

James was a very skilled carpenter. He was very smart in math which made this an easy task for him.  He built play houses and outdoor equipment for his girls when they were small.  He had built a small picnic table for the grandkids just before he had to go away.  He was capable of during many things.  He could plumb, do electrical work, mechanic, etc.  He was truly amazing.

James worked at T&N pipe yard in Lone Star Texas for many years.  He later worked in the logging business.  He liked this kind of work because he was outdoors.  During the last few years of his life he became an employee of Dr. Parks. James was hired to manage her home and landscape.  James remodeled almost every room in her house. James built a play house and swing set for her children and grandchildren. Dr Parks depended on James for everything from a leaky toilet to a flat tire and he was there for her rain or shine with a smile on his face.

Dr Parks’ family took James in as one of their own and was a great role model for her children and grandchildren.  Parker, Dr. Parks oldest grandchild tried his best to work like James and had a small truck he named the “James Truck”.  Parker and Devin both said they wanted to be like James and work with tools when they grow up. Since James passing the boys have done a “James show” for us imitating some of his behaviors pretending paint, hammer, mow and sit on the tail gate of a truck eating canned Vienna’s and drinking Gatorade.

James helped Dr. Parks with many other things including some big projects.  Among those was setting up a huge neighborhood Halloween party.  He constructed the “House of Horror” and built many props for the party including Dracula’s coffin.  James was a sport and dressed up for the occasion.  He built a nice bon fire and made sure the children stayed away from it.  He helped every year with Christmas decorations and parties.  He became an expert with outside Christmas lighting with the help of Dr. Parks.

One of James last projects in July 2012 was helping to build props, hanging banners, and other décor for Dr. Park’s grandmother’s 90th birthday party in Hope, Arkansas. James built a wheel of fortune for the party that was an exact replica of the show. A funny thing happened while they were decorating.  James was asked by one lady if he was an interior decorator.  He said, “I’ve been called a lot of things but never an interior decorator.”  This just showed how talented he was; he had so many great ideas and made work more of an adventure!

James was a sweet, kind and gentle man who was always putting himself last, never asking for anything.  He was honest and hard working and was satisfied with simple things. He lived a very humble life in Simms, TX.  He never had a lot but never wanted much.  Someone gave him a nice lawnmower once and his sister said,  “Good, you needed that.” He replied, “There is a family down the road that needs it a lot more than I do” and so he gave it to them.

James died a senseless death in the Bowie County Jail that could have been prevented; he had a perforated ulcer and peritonitis while incarcerated there. There is no closure for the families, we didn’t even get to say goodbye.  May he rest in peace.  The only consolation any of us have is that he is not in pain now and suffering behind the jail bars but free to live in the Glory of our Lord.

He was loved by all who knew him. We plan on purchasing a bench and creating a memory garden for James in the near future.  We want this to be visible for everyone in Bowie County to see as a reminder of his tragic and unnecessary death inside the jail.  We have started a scholarship fund in his name for a deserving senior from his Alma Mater Simms High School.


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