GROVER GLENN HANKINS Nov. 18, 1940 - April 4, 2009 Grover Glenn Hankins was born in Waukegan, Illinois on November 18, 1940 to the late Andrew and Julia Mae Hankins and passed into eternal rest on April 4, 2009. After his early education in Waukegan schools, he later graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois, College of Law, Champaign, Illinois. Grover's legal career spanned over 36 years and his clients have been awarded millions of dollars in actions involving products liability, personal injury, employment and toxic and environmental law, among others. A national leader in the field of Environmental Justice, Grover was committed to protecting the rights of all Americans. Grover is formerly the National General Counsel for the NAACP, where he headed litigation for the Association, which included complex school desegregation, voting rights, employment discrimination and housing discrimination cases. He served for five years as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Division Employment Section litigating nationwide class action employment discrimination cases. Subsequently, for six years, he prosecuted complex organized crime cases with the Justice Criminal Division Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force in Kansas City, Missouri. Grover then practiced for four years with a small general practice firm where his litigation portfolio included one of the first ever environmental justice cases in 1982. Grover left this firm to be become National NAACP General Counsel and was later appointed Principal Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services under Secretary Louis Sullivan. Upon leaving DHHS, Grover was honored to be named Distinguished Visiting Professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University, where he taught environmental law and trial advocacy, and headed a nationally-acclaimed environmental justice clinic for ten years. Grover was a national lecturer on both civil rights and environmental justice issues and published numerous articles on these topics. At the time of his death, Grover was managing partner of his Houston-based law firm where he continued his passion for protecting the Constitutional rights of not just the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, but all Americans. Grover was an accomplished athlete and an avid sports fan. He ran fourteen marathons including the Boston Marathon and continued running throughout his life. He played football in college and took particular pride in his brother's, children's, grandchildren, nephews and stepchildren's athletic endeavors. Grover, who was a repository of sports trivia, was a UCLA Bruin football fan to the end and wasn't often seen not wearing some UCLA gear, and was usually in full regalia! Grover's extended sports family spanned Little League, AAU, Clear Creek High School, UCLA and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also LOVED "Da' Bears!" Grover was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Rho Beta Beta Chapter, and generously supported many charitable and civic organizations including the Sickle Cell Association of the Texas Gulf Coast, the Gulf Coast Apollo Chapter of the Links, Incorporated and several Houston-area arts organizations. He was an avid collector of African art and artifacts and was proud to share his collections with family, friends and the general public. Grover leaves to cherish his memory his beloved wife and best friend, Lorna; brother, Dr. Andrew J. Hankins, Jr., M.D. (Margaret, deceased); children, Karla Williams, Kelly Hankins, Brett (Donna) and Stacy Piggot (John); stepchildren, Jennifer, Bruce and Ian Davis; grandchildren Ryan Craddock, Erik Williams, Mario Williams, Maya Hankins, Samuel Hankins, Brittni Samuel and Alexander Smith; nephew Corbin Hankins (Anna), niece Andrea Hankins and a host of family, friends, colleagues and clients. Many thanks to the wonderful medical staff of M. D. Anderson Hospital in Houston who cared for Grover during this final journey and a very special thank you to a special friend and doctor, Dr. William O. Lee, M.D. Grover Hankins will be laid to rest on Thursday, April 9, 2007 at 10 AM, at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, 3826 Wheeler, Houston, TX 77004, with Reverend Marcus D. Cosby officiating. A viewing will preceed the service at 9 AM. Interment will follow at Forest Park East Cemetery, League City, TX. Arrangements courtesy of McCoy & Harrison Funeral Home, 4918 Martin Luther King Blvd., Houston, TX 77021.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Apr. 8, 2009.