A photo of Stephen “Steve” Hankins

Stephen “Steve” Hankins

Stephen “Steve” Hankins, age 80, of Bear, DE, passed away on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 after a long fight with cancer.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1940, he was a son of the late Frank and Mary Hankins. Steve’s ethic of hard work started to develop growing up on a farm outside Smyrna doing typical farm tasks like milking cows, using a tractor and weighing eggs. After morning chores, Steve helped his disabled brother, Lewis, get to class before racing to his school. Even though he didn’t have a lot of free time, Steve was a part of 4-H, lettered in baseball, went fishing and worked on his car whenever he could. His favorite memory growing up was participating in the Civil Air Patrol, which definitely played a part in his joining the Air Force in 1961.    

While stationed in Greenland, Steve’s father got a colleague’s daughter Liz to start writing him. His surprise pen pal soon became a love interest when he got out of the service in 1965. In September of 1966, Steve and Liz started their long-married life together. Their loving marriage of 54 years, buoyed by wonderful family and friends, was an inspiration to everyone who knew them.

Steve started working for Diamond State telephone company while dating Liz and stayed with ‘Ma Bell’ companies for 36 years until he retired from Verizon. During those years, Steve and Liz had two kids, Kathy and John. In the mid 70’s they began attending St. Nicholas Episcopal Church and have remained there ever since. Steve hesitated to become an usher when first asked, but soon went on to serve the church in almost every capacity that was possible, except becoming the pastor. 

Steve and Liz had a habit of doing everything together. They loved camping and regularly went with the Harmony Hills gang. The Hankins even camped across the United States as a family. Steve and Liz were involved in church and volunteer organizations such as Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, CFO (a Christian family camp), and the Newark Area Welfare Committee. They did countless renovation and building projects together over the years where Steve was always in charge of the electrical needs, skills he learned from his father on the farm. Steve had an engineer’s mind and was particularly good at building whatever was needed. He also enjoyed a variety of pursuits like making stained glass windows for church, singing in the choir, golfing, watching his favorite football teams, making wine, and writing two cookbooks. One of the few things that Steve did mostly on his own, was gardening.  Steve often said, “I dig dirt!” He could wile the hours away happily sweating in his garden. He trusted that whatever the Lord helped him to grow Liz would do a great job cooking.     

In addition to his parents, Stephen was preceded in death by brothers, Frank, Bill, Dan, and Lewis, and sisters, Dorothy and Jeanne. He is survived by his wife, Liz; brothers, David and Paul; daughter, Kathy; son, John; and many nieces, nephews and grandchildren.       

A viewing for family and friends will be held from 3 pm until 4 pm on Friday, January 15, 2021, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a funeral service will begin at 4 pm. Face masks will be required for all in attendance. Interment will be held privately.

Any family members or friends who are unable to attend Steve’s service can live stream the service by clicking here.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Steve’s memory to St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, 10 Old Newark Road, Newark, DE 19713 or to Keystone CFO, 318 Hawthorn Drive, Lancaster, PA 17603.

Guestbook

Sign the Guestbook

Guestbook messages will be posted within 24 hours pending approval.

21 Guestbook messages for Stephen “Steve” Hankins

  • Steve was a kind, gentle, generous, and loving man. He was also very brave. I say this, because he fought a tremendous battle against his disease; he was a true hero.
    Being part of the Harmony Hills gang, camping, soup at each other’s homes when we were snowed in, our friendship goes way back. I will cherish all those memories always. He will be so missed by me and my family.

  • Sorry for the loss of Steve he was a great and will be greatly missed

  • These words reveal all the wonders and happiness and faith that was a part of who Steve was. His story is a loving tribute to Steve and to Liz. It was a joy to read and learn what made Steve such a great person. It was truly my privilege to have known him. Anne Ratledge

  • Liz: Sorry to hear about Steve’s passing. Remember the good times. The obituary was well written and told the real story of Steve.

  • Even though we’ve been separated by distance, we always felt close to Steve and Liz. We are very sorry to hear of his passing. We’ll miss his warm smile and hearty laugh. Our thoughts and prayers are with Liz, John and Kathy.

  • Dear Liz, Kathy and John. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. RIP Steve.

  • I will miss you my dear friend. Till we meet again….

  • Liz, Kathy, John and all the Grands – Rick and I are so sorry for your loss. Steve was always a wonderful neighbor and so generous with sharing vegetables from his garden! The obituary above is very nice, I definitely plan to watch the live stream of the services. May God bless all of you and may Steve rest in peace. Karen & Rick Melvin

  • A memory that happened 40 years ago that will last not only for this life but for all eternity. It’s the time that Bill Merrill, Margie Schreier, John Parkins, Steve Hankins and myself went on a retreat to the Holy Cross Monastery in upstate New York. That was the weekend that I gave my life to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which in turn changed my life forever. It was people like Steve that helped make this all happen. I thank My God for placing Steve in my life.

  • Dear Steve,
    You were a righteous man here on Earth, a man of integrity, humor, action, generosity, faithfulness, and great faith in our Lord. You are dear to us, and we will never forget you.

    Your sister and brother in Christ, Alice and Scott

  • We have some wonderful memories together, especially crabbing trips and feasts. It has been a joy knowing you, and you are missed.

  • I will miss Steve. My deepest sympathy to Liz the Hankins family.

  • We will miss you! Thank you for being my friend. My life has been enriched by your being in it. Peace be with you, Steve.

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. No words can express the loss of Uncle Steve. He had a wonderful happy spirit about him which was infectious. His smile always lit up the room. Wonderful memories of all the happy times spent together as a family.

    With all our love,
    Michele, Erik & Brittany

  • Goodbye Steve, you will be missed!

  • Liz we were very sorry to hear about Steve! Our sympathy to you and your family.

  • The Lord and the world have lost a dedicated servant and a creative pair of hands. Steve was always willing to do whatever was needed around St. Nicholas Episcopal Church and did it with knowledge and skill, as well as always doing what he thought was right and just We especially remember and appreciate his work to create stained glass panels at the church both in 2004 and ten years later, as well as more recently running the rototiller for the community garden and setting up its rain barrels. Thanks be to God for your productive and loving life, Steve. And may the void left in your hearts, Liz, Kathy and John, be filled by your faith and knowledge that he suffers no more. Wanda and Nick

  • Steve was a good friend and a hard-working member of St. Nicholas. I enjoyed doing church activities with him. Over the years, he worked closely with my dad on vestry. Now my mom, dad, and Steve are having fun doing something, I’m sure. We’ll miss you.

  • Powerful and meaningful service with so many heartfelt messages from pastors, friends and families. We are so fortunate to have known “SteveandLiz” as a couple and occasionally Steve on his own, and found recollections that complement those given today. Yes, he was a true servant of the Lord who has finally been called to his reward. Thanks be to God. Wanda and Nick

  • That was a beautiful church service at the funeral home but I am sorry I was not present. I will miss Steve and so will Emily. Thank you, Steve, for being the kind of Christian who followed Jesus closely. My time at CFO with Steve and Liz will always be treasured. Steve was a good friend to me and Emily.

  • Watching the funeral service on Zoom (another Covid first), I was very moved by the tributes to Steve from friends and family. Everyone spoke of his love of Jesus, his kindness and caring toward others, and his service to his church. These heartfelt words and Steve himself reminded me of my father, Frank Hankins, Jr., which is the highest praise I can give.

    I will always remember Steve as a wonderful husband to his wife and best friend, Liz, a loving father to Cathy and John, a doting grandfather, and a fun, kind uncle to Jim and me. He will be missed by all.

    With love, Jennie and Bob PIttman