Myer G. Hankin, 75, ran menswear store

March 08, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Myer Gershon Hankin, the retired co-owner of a Hampden menswear store, died Saturday of pneumonia at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 75 and lived in Pikesville.

With a cousin, he ran Hankin Brothers, a 36th Street clothing store founded by his father, uncle and grandfather in 1919.

Known as Mike, he waited on customers, heard their stories and shared their confidences for nearly 42 years.

"It's not the business I mind giving up. It's the people," Mr. Hankin said in a 1994 Evening Sun interview when he closed the shop's retail business.

Even after he stopped selling, he continued working several months a year with his cousin, Marvin Hankin, preparing income tax forms.

His business was an old-fashioned men's store where there was no self-service or fancy styles. All his suits, shirts, socks, neckties, overalls and underwear were neatly arranged. When customers ran up a large bill, they didn't pay with plastic credit cards but dropped by each week with $2 or $5 in cash.

"They had good clothes, and they did all their own alterations," said John Leidig, a Hampden resident and retired Westinghouse engineering model maker. "I'm still wearing two suits I bought from him back in the 1960s."

Many years ago, other members of the Hankin family custom-fitted and made suits and sport coats.

More recently, Mr. Hankin did minor alterations -- such as putting cuffs on a pair of trousers. The shop retained its steam iron and pressing board until the end.

Born in Baltimore, he was a 1942 graduate of Forest Park High School.

Mr. Hankin's main interest outside his business was the Boy Scouts. He served the organization for nearly 35 years, recruiting and training Cub masters within the Arrowhead District of Northwest Baltimore. He was also associated with Troop 97 at Temple Oheb Shalom on Park Heights Avenue.

He was presented with scouting's highest volunteer honor, the Silver Beaver Award, in January 1994.

During World War II, he was in an Army artillery division known as the Timber Wolves in Europe. He later served in the Maryland National Guard.

In 1948, he married the former Estella Gordon, a retired Johns Hopkins University physics department secretary. She survives him.

Services were held Monday.

He is also survived by two sons, David L. Hankin of San Jose, Calif. and Howard Hankin of Haymarket, Va.; a sister, Doris Harris of Baltimore; and two granddaughters.


Because of limited space and the large number of requests for obituaries, The Sun regrets that it cannot publish all the obituaries it receives. Because The Sun regards obituaries as news, we give a preference to those submitted within 48 hours of a person's death. It is also our intention to run obituaries no later than seven days after death.

Gerard W. Spraker, 90, Roman Catholic monsignor

Monsignor Gerard W. Spraker, former pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of the Ascension in Halethorpe and later chaplain at St. Martin's Home for the Aged in Catonsville, died Friday at St. Martin's Home of a stroke. He was 90.

Monsignor Spraker resigned in 1976 after 18 years as pastor of Church of the Ascension and moved to St. Martin's Home. During his tenure at Ascension, he oversaw construction and dedication of a parochial school and temporary church. He retired in 1979, but continued his ministry at the home until recently.

"He was a very simple and outgoing man who was dedicated to his work. He was a very friendly man," said a cousin, the Rev. John Auer, pastor of Our Lady of the Fields Roman Catholic Church in Millersville.

Born in West Baltimore, Monsignor Spraker attended Mount St. Joseph High School for a year and continued his studies at St. Charles College Seminary in Catonsville. He later attended St. Mary's Seminary on Paca Street and the North American College in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1934. He was assistant pastor of St. Martin Roman Catholic Church on Fulton Avenue from 1935 until 1953, when he was assigned as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in Owensville.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday .

He is survived by many nephews and nieces.

Andrew M. Balling, 84, stationary engineer

Andrew M. Balling, a retired stationary engineer who built scale models of marine steam engines, died March 1 of pneumonia at St. Agnes HealthCare. He was 84 and lived on Cooks Lane.

Mr. Balling was a stationary engineer in charge of the steam boilers at Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. in Fairfield for 15 years and retired in 1977. Earlier, he was a stationary engineer at the Emerson Hotel and a boiler inspector for Hartford Steam Boiler and Insurance Co.

He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, where his engineer father helped build the canal. He moved to Baltimore as a teen-ager and graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1933.

He joined the merchant marine, where he earned his chief engineer's license and served aboard oil tankers during World War II.

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