Funeral rites set for Rex Hankins, Oak Harbor City Council member

By BRIAN KELLY

Herald Writer

OAK HARBOR – Funeral services have been announced for Oak Harbor councilman Rex C. Hankins Sr., who died Saturday of pneumonia.

Hankins, 73, was an 11-year resident of Whidbey Island. A member of the Oak Harbor City Council for the past five years, he had been battling cancer and had undergone lung surgery in early January.

Cheri Olney, his daughter, said he became involved in government because he was interested in the environment and wanted to make sure the Whidbey Island shoreline was adequately protected.

A former Edmonds resident, Hankins moved to Snohomish County in 1970 from San Jose, Calif., after a 20-year career with Hewlett-Packard as an electronics engineer.

Hankins also was the former owner of the Totem Tavern, now the Milltown Pub, on Evergreen Way in Everett.

"When we had the tavern, he would sit and talk about faith, about hope; the least likely place you would ever think of," Olney said.

"It’s not that he was preachy, but when people came to dad he told them what he thought."

He remained the same as an Oak Harbor council member, where he earned a reputation as an outspoken, but thoughtful and well-prepared, watchdog.

"He loved it, he was passionate about it. He had more binders filled with RCW codes," Olney said.

"The personal contact with the people of Oak Harbor dad absolutely loved, it was a joy to him," she said.

In addition to Olney, he is survived by his wife, Eleanor, and son Rex Hankins Jr., of Edmonds. Another son, Mark, died in 1976.

"My brother died when he was 22, and my dad emerged from that tragedy full of strength and hope and a strong desire to serve other people," Olney said.

"He was a mentor in this family; he was a very, very strong light," she said.

A vigil service will be 4 p.m. Thursday in the chapel of Beck’s Funeral Home in Edmonds.

A funeral mass will be 11 a.m. July 14 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Edmonds.

You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to

kelly@heraldnet.com.

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