It's been over a year since my dad died and I still can't cope with the loss. Not only was he the greatest father anyone could ask for but he was to many a true renaissance man.
Gary was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1947, but spent most of his youthful years living in West Point, Mississippi. His High School days were spent playing as the fullback on the high school football team and ,of course, getting into any trouble that he could. We now know (after hearing a few tales of his high school days) why he was so strict on us. After High School my father joined the Navy and served in Vietnam. Upon returning he met, and fell in love with; my mother, Marilyn Pennington.
On September 8, 1973 Ottis Gary Hankins married a youthful Marilyn Pennington in a small church in Tupelo, MS. After two years of marriage, Marilyn gave birth to their first child on January the 9th. They named her Danielle Renee Hankins(25). She would later be followed by Joseph Gabriel(21), Jessica Lynn(18), Elizabeth Anne(15), and Michael Wayne(7). His large family settled down in the small town of Southaven, Mississippi after living all over the country. As Marilyn stayed at home raising her five children, Gary worked for an electric Company based in Memphis by the name of Gusmus Electric Company.
To say my father was simply an electrician would be an understatement to say the least. He was an avid golf player, hoping to raise a woman PGA golf champion. He bought a set of clubs, cut them to size, and taught his young children the game. He was a hunter using both a gun and a bow and arrow, depending on his mood. He was a carpenter. You could put a hammer and a couple of nails in his hand and he could build you anything your heart desired. He was an artist and extremely intelligent. He was a truck driver, or soon to be. He died the day after he recieved his license to drive commercial trucks. He was anything he wanted to be when he wanted to be it. He was truly a jack of all trades.
He was a husband. He was a son. He was a father, but most of all he was a gift of God. He was an inspiration to many and a Godsend to all. He was a man taken too early.
I like to picture in my head my father sitting with the creator of this world. Arguing no doubt :) but still looking out for me and my family. He's now in a better place than anywhere on this earth. Yes, even better than Colorado.
I can still hear his footsteps and hear his truck door slam when he came home. I still answer the phone in hopes that he is calling to say he's going to be late. My heart just won't accept what my mind is telling it. My father is still in my heart and in my thoughts. He has forever changed so many lives. His legacy will live on forever.