After years of ongoing health problems and “living with cancer,” Michael Dean Hanks, 47, of Slater, passed away surrounded by family on Sept 2, 2017, at his parents’ home.
Mike was born on September 26, 1969, in Ames, Iowa, and was a proud graduate of the Ballard High School Class of ‘88. He went on to college and graduated with an electronics degree before finding his true path and continuing education in library sciences.
A lifelong resident of the Ballard community, Mike is best known as Director of Services for the Huxley Public Library, where he spent his last 12 years doing what he truly loved — learning, serving the public, and fiercely advocating for equality in free, open, and unbiased information access. Patrons were drawn to him, as Mike was known for always having something kind or thoughtful to say, being a good listener with just the right words to help.
They say the Ballard community is small, but Mike was huge. He was known to turn a phrase or capitalize on an inside joke. Mike also had a knack for pairing a song with a person or experience, and was known far and wide for his ‘80s and ‘90s rock-and-roll trivia and ability to rattle off the year, artist and where it was recorded when given even a snippet of a song.
Despite being introverted, Mike had wide networks of friends and enjoyed his many and varied collections — books, die-cast ‘57 Chevys, Hot Wheels, music, sci-fi and rock-and-roll memorabilia. His favorite holiday was the Fourth of July, and many friends would gather at his house for front row seating watching the fireworks.
Mike’s final years brought a deeper appreciation of family, friends, and simple things, like stopping to watch rabbits play in a grassy field on his way home from work or waking up, pain-free, in his own bed.
Mike is survived by his parents, Dennis and Pam Hanks; a sister; Ranae (Ryan) Roberts; a nephew, Mitchel Roberts; a niece, Harper Roberts; grandparents Dean and Beulah Hanks and Melvin and Joneta Bell; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his beloved pet, Mirah, his Uncles Mark Bell, Jim Bell, Gary Smith and his friend since kindergarten, Mike Nelson.
Memorial contributions and cards can be sent to 517 Meadow Brook Place, Huxley Iowa 50124.
Mike never wanted a “pity-party,” so family and friends are invited to a celebration of life on October 7th from 12PM-4PM at Nord Kalsem Shelter/Park 204 West 5th Street Huxley, Iowa. Please feel free to wear a concert T-shirt as we honor a man who spent almost half a century honoring rock-and-roll; your kind soul will be missed by many. Rock and Roll forever, Mike!