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.