Marvin Hankin, 77, owned clothing store for men in Hampden

June 18, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Marvin Hankin, a retired Hampden men's clothing merchant who continued to prepare tax returns and dispense financial advice for the neighborhood's residents, died Saturday at University of Maryland Medical Center after a fall at his Pikesville home. He was 77.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Towanda Avenue, Mr. Hankin was a 1943 graduate of City College, where he played second base on the varsity baseball team and ran track.

He was pursuing a pre-med course at the University of Maryland, College Park, when he joined the merchant marine during World War II. He was a chief warrant officer and bursar on voyages to the South Pacific and North Atlantic.

After the war, he joined the family business, Hankin Brothers, a men's and boy's clothing store on Hampden's West 36th Street that had been founded by his father and uncle in 1919.

"In the 1950s there were five or six men's shops along the street. The presence of all that retail drew people here. We're about the last of all that crew," Mr. Hankin told The Evening Sun late in 1994, several months before closing the business operated with his cousin, the late Myer Hankin.

"Not as many of our old customers live here any more," Mr. Hankin said. "There was a time when the husband might have been employed at Schenuit Tire and his wife worked at the Noxell factory. We had a lot of top-notch craftsmen, tool-and-die makers. And railroaders too. Plenty of our customers worked hard and saved. And they moved away."

Although he closed the store and sold the building, Mr. Hankin stayed on to work one day a week as a salesman for the new owner's used-furniture business there. He also used an office in the building to prepare income-tax returns for area residents, as he had done for many years.

"Sometimes I would show people they were eligible for a tax credit on their real estate taxes," Mr. Hankin told the newspaper. "Often their response was, `We don't want any charity.'"

Mr. Hankin recalled a Saturday morning when a sailor came into the clothing store at 11 o'clock.

"He needed a suit of clothes for his own wedding at noon. He needed the pants shortened and the coat fixed. We had it ready and he made his own wedding," Mr. Hankin said.

"He ran his business based upon loyalty, a handshake and his word," said David Gans, who bought the 36th Street property for his furniture business. "He was soft-spoken, compassionate. He was a legend in Hampden. He told me his tax-return business actually increased this year."

"He just loved working. He had a lot of friends in Hampden. Generations went to his store," said a son, Gerald M. Hankin of Pikesville. "He was also a real family man. We came first."

Mr. Hankin was treasurer of the Hankin Family Circle, a club of cousins that met quarterly, organized social gatherings and contributed to charity.

He was a member of Shaarei Zion Congregation, and was formerly active in the Beth Tfiloh and Liberty Jewish Center brotherhoods.

Mr. Hankin played golf twice a week and maintained a 120 average in duckpin bowling.

Services were held Monday.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Marilyn Wasserman; another son, Kenneth Hankin of Columbia; a daughter, Mindye Allentoff of Owings Mills; two sisters, Phyllis Ely of Pikesville and Dorothy Golomb of Bethesda; and five grandchildren.

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