In Memory

Steven Hancock

Steven Hancock

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11/10/13 11:10 AM #4    

Jacqueline Clare (Louis)

Thanks Holly!


11/11/13 10:30 AM #5    

Bonnie Robinson

Steve evolved into an amazing man who loved his family and took pride in his Church. When I heard of his passing, I found a In Memory post online for him and wrote in it. His daughter contacted me to thank me. As a young guy, Steve was a bit rough around the edges, but he evolved into truly kind and loving man. He is missed.


05/06/14 05:57 AM #6    

Stephen Smith

Thanks for your comments Bonnie, I didn't know Steve too well but, we attended Miller elementary together along with Dick Olman and Winnie Alt(so many of German heritage, which I also had on both my parents sides). 

I remember seeing him at the 40th reunion and just had to stop and tell him how good he looked , such a picture of health. Glad to find out he turned out to be a good husband, father and churchman(sorry can't think of how else to put that, and my mom was an English teacher!)

09/05/14 10:10 AM #7    

Don Hall

Thank you Jackie, Pat, Holly, Bonnie and Steve for your thoughts.

For all those who would be interested in Steve's passing, here are some details: 1. Steve took a nap one Saturday afternoon in Feb 2009 as he felt tired. 2. He had recently had a reconstructive knee operation. 3. Previously, he had reconstruction on his other knee and had experienced a blood clot and a medical emergency. 4. It is believed by his family that the "tiredness" was related to him experiencing another blood clot which led to his passing...tragic, because the symptoms were not the same as in the case of his prior post operative situation.

Steve's younger brother, Rob gave a heart rendering recollection at his memorial service of his "big brother" which I share with you as follows:


I am here today for the Hancock brothers. Steve was pre-deceased by his big brother Bill. His big brother Jon is here with us today, on the front row. My name is Rob Hancock and Steve Hancock was, and always will be, my big brother… Celeste, one of my earliest remembrances was at the family dinner table listening to everyone talk about PINKIE…. Who was this PINKIE EVERYONE ALWAYS MENTIONED ?…. It was Steve Hancock, who I first knew as STEVIE… I think that changed to Steve in junior high. But from that day forward, I wanted to have a nickname….At Christmas when I was 7, I got a bathrobe as a gift. I wore it all Christmas day. Never took it off. That night, Steve named me “ROBE” and that stuck for the next year. I was happy because I had a nickname like my big brother. Ashley and David, I am a HAPPY person because of your Dad. I am a confident person because of Steve Hancock. When I was in first grade, I tried to join a game of touch football down the street with some older guys. The rebuffed me and pushed me around. Then one of the older boys told his buddies that I was Steve Hancock’s little brother. I was immediately let in the game. In the huddle, one of the guys said that Steve would give them a pounding if they messed with me. In our neighborhood, it was just something that was understood. Walking down the streets of Judson Avenue, I used that trump card a lot as a kid. That feeling of has never left me. Celeste, Ashley, David….. I know that feeling of love and support from Steve will never, ever leave you. This afternoon, I have an inadequate expression of what we all carry in our hearts. My words are pale in our room of grief. But that’s OK, because the best testimony to Steve Hancock’s earthly life is not in my words, but in the way he led his life… We all leave here today with a beacon to guide us down the road, by way of Steve’s example. When I left for the airport yesterday, my wife Angie said “Steve was just a good guy”….Steve was a good guy…. That’s it, plain and simple…. 1) One cold Winter dawn in 1959, when it was time for me to learn to ride a bike, Steve taught me, on our front porch, above the snow…..I crashed through the barricade of chairs at the steps and woke our parents…They were not too happy….but I learned to ride that day 2) In 1962, Steve shoveled snow in the alley so we could shoot baskets, at night….with an outdoor light strung on the garage, after we had watched the Rose Bowl… I learned you gotta work before you play… 3) In 1963, I came home in the driveway with my parents to find Steve in the backyard as he finished digging a broad jump pit… my parents said “No”…. I said, silently to myself, “Yes”…… he finished the pit and became a champion broad jumper…. I learned from him and built a few broad jump pits myself…. 4) In the summer of 1964, he took me, and me alone, on his senior trip to Isle Royal National Park in Lake Superior for 1 week…. Sleeping under the stars…Steve said “just wait and watch” and then the satellites Echo I and Echo II came across the skies… a big deal back then…When asked if I could go to Isle Royal as an 11 year old, our Dad said “No”…. Steve said “Yes” and prevailed and I went….Steve never complained when I could not keep up carrying a back pack through the woods… Exhausted only half way there, he carried it for me to our outpost in the wilderness….Older helps younger… I learned that from him… 5) In the winter of 1965, in a period of family turmoil while in Florida, Steve took me on a day trip to the Everglades….parking on the side of a road, we got out of the car and walked to what appeared to be an Oasis in the middle of a semi-swampy field… peering through the palmetto trees and bushes, we watched alligators sunning themselves no more than 30 yards away….no cost of admission there… one of those PRICELESS things….Steve knew the beauty of nature…and I learned that beauty from him…. 6) In the Summer of 1967, in Conroe Texas, Steve bought a BB gun for target practice. One day he caught me shooting at a dove with his gun…. Steve, flat out, wore me out… I felt his wrath that day…. He was so mad and demonstrative even our Mother could not save me…I learned that day not to kill God’s creatures….and I have passed that on to my son Shea, also sitting in the front row with us today… Steve was the epitome of a baby boomer, born in 1946…. He could have fit into the movie American Graffiti with no problem…Ron Howard played his part… you may have seen the photograph up front, with Steve and his buddies standing in front of a car, I don’t know what year model,… Don Hall is nodding his head, Don is Steve’s high school friend, he is sitting with us today… Don says that picture was taken in August 1963…. in the early years of high school, he and his buddies had a way of greeting each other with “Coins Magellen”… whatever that meant, it went on for about 6 months…we were all baffled by it…later in life, as we got older and wiser, it started making sense…… Steve’s bedroom was across the hall from mine. One afternoon, after he got back from high school football practice, he stuck his head in my room and said, in kinda a deep, sing song voice…… “AS I…, AS I… WALK THROUGH THIS WORLD…. NOTHING CAN STOP……… THE DUKE OF EARL…” He loved that song… I thought of Steve when I watched an Oldies show on PBS the other night. Gene Chandler, who sang the Duke of Earl, was on with his black top hat and black flowing cape…. He looked like a black Dracula… but in the early Sixties he was the man… In 1961, Steve Hancock was becoming a man while walking around the house singing the DUKE of EARL…….. Steve had high standards but was not infallible. I know, I was the little brother that tattled to Dad when Steve tried to sneak a bottle of bourbon out of the basement window to his buddy Steve Harrison. I was the one whom tattled when Steve and brother Jon had a BB gun war with live BBs in our backyard. I always regretted tattling because it was fun to watch. Only later in life did I catch the irony of Steve’s shooting at Jon while lambasting me for shooting at a dove…I was there when Steve, without his parents permission because he did not have a drivers license, snuck the car out of the driveway and ripped the side of the garage off. That was not a good one…..Childhood and teenage larks aside, Steve Hancock was a good and decent human being…. Steve loved everything about his hometown of Evanston Illinois, from Judson Ave to Lake Michigan to the YMCA, Camp Echo and his high school, ETHS. He was deeply devoted to the church. When I joined him in Evanston in 1989 for his 25th high school re-union, we went to St. Lukes that Sunday. In the middle of the service, I turned and looked at Steve and saw the tears in his eyes and he was moved by the service in the church he was raised and attended with his family so long ago. LET AIRPLANES CIRCLE OVERHEAD SCRIBBLING ON THE SKY STEVE HANCOCK HAS LIVED PUT BLACK BOWS ROUND THAT WHITE ROCKY MOUNTAIN PEAK…… AND LISTEN, WHILE GOD ATTEMPTS TO SPEAK And, in our sleep pain which we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon our hearts until, …Celeste, in our own despair, and against our will, comes wisdom, through the grace of God. David, Ashley, Celeste, …his spirit lives on…… Steve, like you brothers have always done, get brother Bill to hang the basketball goal and you shovel the snow in the alley, ….we’ll all join you one day to continue that eternal game of basketball."

I prepared the following comments, attended his memorial service in Denver and I share these thoughts with you as well:

"Steve “Pinky” Hancock: My Reflections Don “Donut” Hall: Feb 2009

Steve was/is: A good guy…has a wonderful sense of humor…a friend all should have.   To frame my comments; let me provide a chronology in the setting of Evanston, IL; the town of our boyhood in the late 50s and early 60s: Evanston could have been the stage for Ozzie & Harriet (the Nelsons) or Leave It to Beaver. It was the prototypical “baby boomer” Midwest town with great parks and beaches along Lake Michigan. If you were a would-be urban planner, you couldn’t have done better in devising programs for youth, families and seniors with all the opportunity the natural conditions afforded. You could ride your bike or take the bus anywhere without any of the worries present today…it was wide open for exploration. Central to many youth was the YMCA with its programs to keep kids busy…a “Y” membership card was a treasured “all seasons” possession. The many Churches/Places of Worship played a big part with their spiritual programs and family activities. Finally, the school system was nationally renown. Neighborhood schools at the elementary level leading to a consolidated High School (Evanston Township…ETHS) at the senior level with close to 4,000 students. It was typical for 80% of the graduates to go on to college because of the quality education received.

How did Steve & I meet…at Nichols Junior High, but more through our brothers: There seemed to have been several older and younger brother combinations in Evanston at the time…the Halls, the Hancocks, the Schwanbecks, the Ollmans, the Wanzenbergs, the Holcombs, and on…. Most played baseball, it seems, in the Evanston Little Leagues(Boltwood Park.) I remember vaguely the first day at Nichols turning to Steve in the playground and saying, “we should be friends since our brothers are friends…that was all it took…that friendship lasted a lifetime. Since I had to travel by commercial bus to get to school, we would play basketball in the alleys (Judson, Hinman, Forest Ave.) behind the houses of friends after school before I returned home. By the way, alleys were great for finding stuff…today’s yard sales are what we referred to as “alley picking” opportunities; only the stuff was free! I believe it was Steve’s Dad who started for Steve’s friends the Spahn YMCA Club. As I mentioned earlier, the “Y” was an integral part in our lives…Spahn Club provided flag football in the fall, basketball in the winter and other reasons to meet throughout the year. Steve was/is: A good guy…has a wonderful sense of humor…a friend all should have.

The Evanston Township High School (ETHS) years: Being a huge school, it helped to have played sports and be involved in “Y” activities to ease the transition from middle school to high school. Steve was a good athlete who played football(2 years), ran track(4 years) and played basketball(1 year). I recall Steve, in his sophomore year fielding a kickoff return at Maine Township High School and being pummeled resulting in a broken collar bone. I think that experience was enough to persuade him track was the better option! Prior to the beginning of our senior year we formed the Ronnie Bull YMCA club. This was before there was a Chicago Bulls basketball team. Ron Bull was a half-back for the Chicago Bears. He was honored to have a local Y group name a club after him. However, what he and others didn’t know was his name was a name of convenience…i.e., we needed a name for our club, we thought our collective selves to be “full of it,” and the Ronnie Bull Club name was just perfect for the brother bulls. Incredibly, we won the best senior club award for the year! With nicknames like Pinky, Donut, Wild Bill, Doc, The Flying Finn Olle and so on, the summer of 63 offered an opportunity to poke some fun. It is memorialized in a photo taking outside of my home on Wesley Ave. that Steve and the others have showing us just hanging out standing in front of an old 50s aqua-green Oldsmobile. I believe that was the occasion of the “Hall Escort Service.” You see, the girls from our class frequently dated the older high school boys in the first 3 years. So, when they were in their senior year, they possibly could be without…well, an escort. So, with the help of my older brother Chuck, we devised this rhyme: We’ll do our best; and, we’ll not rest, until we find you an exceptional date. You name your style, we’ll check our file; and, you’ll be out of your pad about eight. Steve was/is: A good guy…has a wonderful sense of humor…a friend all should have.

The college years to present: After high school, I and others lost touch with Steve as he, and his family moved to Florida for reasons that were unclear at the time. I had a great winter job at the post office between semesters delivering mail/parcel post which allowed me to visit all my old haunts…and, they paid me! When I was down in the old Nichols School area, I’d always swing by the Hancocks, the Ollmans and the Schwanbecks just to recall the memories or to stop for lunch at the Toddle House on Chicago Ave., or to get a hamburger at Bill’s on Asbury Ave. It wasn’t until many years later that my brother, Chuck who had been to an Aetna Insurance Co. training session met Steve. Steve was performing the same job as Chuck in another part of the country. I guess insurance offered more stable income for a growing family than social work which was Steve’s first passion. Needless to say, in an hour(half filled with laughter) after we reconnected, we were up to speed with each other even though years had transpired. The high school reunions we attended were great fun. I think the psychologists say a 15 second belly-laugh will cancel an entire day of negative feelings….well, when Steve and I got together, I had enough laughs and endorphins stored up for the coming year! I had the opportunity while my Son, Matt, was at the Air Force Academy to share a little of my career in the Air Force with Steve and his Son, David through Matt. It was nice to be able share this experience as fathers through our sons. That is why it was difficult to receive a phone call from “Hancock” this week expecting to talk to Steve realizing it was David who was calling to tell me of Steve passing…a new reality! Steve was/is: A great guy…has a wonderful sense of humor( he laughed at everything I said)…everyone would be lucky to have a friend like Steve “Pinky” Hancock.

Let me end my thoughts this way: In the military, it is a custom to render a salute to a senior, anticipating a return salute to the junior. It is our way of saying hello and goodbye. Often, in formal settings such as a flag raising, playing of the national anthem and the conduct of various ceremonies; the salute is a sign of respect. The civilian show of respect is placing the hand over the heart. A sign of courtesy a military man may offer( not often seen today) is a salute to a lady. The civilian counterpart in years past was when a man tipped his hat. To honor my friend Steve, I offer as a final good-bye a salute and ask God’s care for Celeste, Ashley and David; Steve’s beloved family.

Warm Regards to all classmates who read these words of a loving brother and a admiring friend who still misses this great friend.

Don Hall

09/05/14 12:56 PM #8    

Sherwin "Jay" Siegall

Don: Thanks for sharing all that. I dont remember how I knew you and Steve, I just know that I knew you guys. Maybe baseball at Boltwood Park. You are so right about growing up in Evanston and the Ozzie and Harriet comments. Any way thanks for the great insight to the frienship and comaraderie you guys had. His broter and your eulogies were vey heart warming. Also relate so well to dining at Toddle house and Bills!

Yes, what I do remember is Steve was a GOOD GUY! RIP!

Siegall (no nick name.thats why I switched to my middle name, Jay)

09/05/14 07:03 PM #9    

Bonnie Robinson

Dear Don,

Thank you so very, very much for posting the unbelievably loving tribute Steve's younger brother gave at his funeral.

Also, your personal recoillections of Evanston and your years long friendship with Steve brought back so many memories and also brought me to tears.


I guess I just didn't remember how very close you and Steve were. I'm sure many of our classmates who knew Steve are now heartened to hear how very much he was loved and what an extraoridnary man he became. 

Again, RIP, Steve. You are still remembered and loved by many.

09/05/14 07:13 PM #10    

Jacqueline Clare (Louis)

Wow Don, what a wonderful tribute. You have an extrodenary memory for details. I wish I could pull all those details for a few of our lost classmates that I have strong memories of and had special relationships with. You are amazing. Great job. 

09/05/14 07:38 PM #11    

Alison Van Swearingen (Brown)

I did not really know Steve Hancock, just who he was by sight.  After reading all those words infused with love and admiration only a younger brother would have for an older brother followed by the beautiful words from Don Hall, I wish I had known Steve.   Through all those lovely words it felt like I did get to know at least who he was and some of what he was all about.  Thank you, Don Hall, for sharing such a wonderful eulogy. 

09/11/14 01:31 PM #12    

Paul Holmquist

All the commeents about Steve are wonderfull, I remember walking to his home from our apartment on Forest Ave. and then going down to the Ice Rink by the boat ramp to skate. He was a picture of health at the 40th reunion and will truly be missed

10/19/14 03:20 AM #13    

Holly Underwood (Bisenius)

Thank You, Don.  I appreciate the effort you made.  I am saddened to see Steve's name here. He really was a wonderful guy.!


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