Donald Hanks Obituary
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In Memory of

Donald B. Hanks

March 17, 1920 - December 14, 2013
Obituary

Senior Captain Donald Bundy Hanks, Houston Fire Department, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2013 at the age of 93 years old. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Arlene Hanks, his daughter Darlene Hanks-Villarreal and son-in-law James Villarreal, his son Donald Hanks Jr., and grandchildren Bradley Hanks, Lauren Hanks, and Dakota Villarreal. Visitation will be 4:00-8:00PM, Wednesday, Dec 18th, at Forest Park Lawndale. Funeral services will be at 10:30AM, Thursday, Dec 19th, at Forest Park Lawndale. His life was defined by courage, tireless devotion to his family, a heart of service for others and a spirit which met every...
Senior Captain Donald Bundy Hanks, Houston Fire Department, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2013 at the age of 93 years old. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Arlene Hanks, his daughter Darlene Hanks-Villarreal and son-in-law James Villarreal, his son Donald Hanks Jr., and grandchildren Bradley Hanks, Lauren Hanks, and Dakota Villarreal. Visitation will be 4:00-8:00PM, Wednesday, Dec 18th, at Forest Park Lawndale. Funeral services will be at 10:30AM, Thursday, Dec 19th, at Forest Park Lawndale.
His life was defined by courage, tireless devotion to his family, a heart of service for others and a spirit which met every challenge with confidence. He was born on March 17th 1920. As a child growing up in the depression he learned to work hard and help support his family. He rose to the occasion and grew strong in body and spirit. When he was 22 years old he answered his nation's call and fought with distinction and honor in the China, Burma, India, theatre of World War II. His experience in some of the most grueling combat of the war forged his spirit and his heart for service. After returning from the war in 1945 he married Arlene Leatrice Hanks and started a new life away from the mayhem of war. In 1948 he found his true calling as a Houston Texas Firefighter and began a journey again marked by courage and devotion to others. During his time in the fire department he saved countless lives both of the victims of tragedy as well as fellow firefighters. During one particular fire in the Landmark Hotel in the 1970s he hung suspended over ten stories in the air while firmly holding a ground ladder and an aerial ladder together allowing several victims to climb to safety. His core leadership belief was he would never ask his men to do anything he would not do first. Almost every time he would be the first into the fire and the last out ensuring his men were safe. Throughout his career he never lost one of his boys, although he had several close calls getting them out safely. In addition to his passion for fire-fighting he also had a passion for his work with the Masonic Order and the Shrine. A 32nd Degree Scottish Rite mason he was active in numerous charitable activities for the Masons and the Shriners. He used his many talents in carpentry and even dress and quilt making to support activities as varied as the Shrine Circus and the Shriner's Hospitals. He was an active member of the Arabia Shrine Temple Motor Corp and a past president of the Texas Motor Patrol Association. He loved driving in parades on his Cushman Silver Eagle (on which he once gave Governor John Connally a ride to an event), and his beloved little red racer. After his retirement from the Fire Department he filled his days working on wood working and stained glass projects for his friends and family. Almost all of his precious creations live on today in homes across Texas. Of all his passions in life his family was first and foremost. He was a devoted husband and a loving father beyond compare. During most of his 68 years of marriage to Arlene he could recall in an instant exactly how many days, hours, and minutes he had been married to the love of his life and he never missed an anniversary. He told her every day how much he loved her and treated her like a queen. His children Darlene and Donnie were truly the apples of his eye and he gave them more unconditional love and support than any father could. He put his family above all else and throughout his life made personal sacrifices without blinking an eye to ensure his family had everything they needed. His love and skill as a father carried on in the lives of his amazing grandchildren Bradley, Lauren and Dakota. One look at them and anyone can see his fingerprints. He is deeply loved and will be missed, but those who love him know he is safe in the arms of the Lord awaiting the joyous day he can be reunited with those he loves. His legacy of courage, honor, and devotion live on in his family and in the memories of those he touched. Men like Donald Bundy Hanks are rare and their lives are like a bright fire of hope and strength. Even after they leave us to go to a far better place we can still feel the warmth and see the glow of their flame.

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"Daddy, we will miss you. We are proud and honored that you were our dad. We celebrate your life. God blessed us with you for 93 years- rest peacefully." Darlene Villarreal (Bellaire, TX)

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Houston Chronicle
Donald Bundy Hanks Senior Captain Donald Bundy Hanks, Houston Fire Department, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2013 at the age of 93 years...

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