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Henry Edgar Hammack

Henry "Hank" Edgar Hammack, 84, passed away early Sunday morning, May 19, 2013, at a care facility in Fort Worth. Funeral: 11 a.m. Saturday at University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Drive, Fort Worth. The family will greet friends afterwards at a reception. Interment: Laurel Land Memorial Park. Visitation: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Laurel Land Funeral Home. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Betty Hammack Memorial Scholarship, now part of the Melvin O. Dacus and Kathryne P. Dacus Performance Award in Musical Theater, at TCU; the , 2630 West Freeway, Ste. 100, Fort Worth, Texas 76102; or the Boar's Head and Yule Log Guild at University Christian Church. Dr. Hammack was born to Gladys and George Hammack in Kansas City, Kan., in 1928. After moving to Washington state, he graduated from high school in Richland and then attended Whitman College in Walla Walla as a piano student. He then served in the United States Marine Corps from 1950-1953 as a ship-side Morse code radio operator during the Korean War. He earned his BA and MA from the University of Washington School Of Drama and his Ph.D. in theatre from Tulane University in 1967. He joined the theatre faculty at TCU in 1957 and taught there for 37 years until his retirement in 1994 as professor emeritus. Dr. Hammack was a true Renaissance man of the theatre, teaching and creating in virtually every area of the discipline. He designed scenery for more than 25 productions, created costumes for more than 30, directed more than 70 and even acted in several TCU productions. The courses he taught were essentially as diverse: Introduction to Theatre, Stagecraft, Scene Design, Theatre Lighting, Stage Makeup, Wig Making, History of Costume, Costume Pattern Drafting, Literature and Criticism, Theatre History, all levels of acting from beginning to advanced, Stage Speech and Diction. He was a tenured professor and served as the chair of the department several times. As an educator, Dr. Hammack touched the lives of a long list of students and peers, who included Betty Buckley, Dennis Burkley, Frederick Forrest and Jack Rader, as well as local stage actor David Coffee. Outside TCU, Dr. Hammack also worked extensively in theatre, especially as an actor. His stage resume includes more than 40 different productions. He appeared in nearly 100 TV commercials and print advertisements, as well as several industrial and feature films, but he'll be best remembered by his grandchildren for playing the title role in the early Barney and Friends video, "Waiting for Santa." As a lecturer, he was considered an expert on film and theatre history and was sought after for his lecture series on these subjects. A longtime and active member of University Christian Church in Fort Worth, he was an a deacon, an elder and a member of the choir and was involved in the genesis of the Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival, produced every January these past 37 years. Dr. Hammack did much of the original staging of this event, designed and helped create many of the magnificent costumes, and served as the its first director. As members of Church in the Arts, he and his wife, Joyce, created many of the special event and seasonal banners that grace the walls at UCC. Dr. Hammack was married to Betty Jean Tongue from 1955 until her death in 1988. They had two sons, Stephen and Scott. In December 1989, he married Joyce Stevens, who had two adult children, Barbara Harrison and Daniel Stevens. Whether related by blood or marriage, he was a wonderful friend, father and grandpa to all in his family and was loved dearly by them. His wonderful story-telling, his genial nature, warmth and positive outlook on life will be missed by all. The family would like to express a special thank-you to the staff of Bethesda Gardens Memory Care for their loving care and support these last years. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Jean Hammack; parents, George and Gladys Hammack; brothers, Sandy and Chet; and his sister, Betty Jane "BJ" Polk. Survivors: His wife of 23 years, Joyce Hammack; sons, Stephen Hammack (Kelli) and Scott Hammack (Michell); stepson, Dan Stevens (Marilou); stepdaughter, Barbara Harrison; nine grandchildren and stepgrandchildren; one stepgreat-grandchild; brother, Fred Hammack (Diane); and his sister, Helen Whitney.

Published in Star-Telegram on May 22, 2013
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