Obituary: Frances ‘Pat’ Ann McKinley Hanks

Pat Hanks meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Through her thoughts and actions, she always considered the needs and wishes of those around her before her own. Her ever-endearing presence in the community of Meeker, St. James Episcopal Church and our elementary school were a blessing to us all. It has best been described that Pat led her life with grace and dignity.

Frances Ann McKinley was always known as “Pat” because she was born on St. Patrick’s Day—March 17, 1943—to F.W. and Peg McKinley in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Pat attended Cheyenne Mountain High School, where she was graduated in 1961. She began her college years at Colorado State College, now known as the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. While in college, she met her future husband, James “Jim” Milton Hanks.
Pat and Jim were married on Dec. 15, 1963, in Colorado Springs. The couple lived in the Colorado Springs area, where they managed the Emerald Valley Guest Ranch.
In 1968, Pat and Jim moved to Gunnison, Colo., where they began raising their three children. In 1980, the Hanks family moved to Meeker, where Pat lived for the remainder of her life.
Pat was adamant that her family came first, and only when she felt they were old enough did she return to college, graduating from Western State College in the summer of 1985, when she began teaching the kids of Meeker her love of art.
Pat taught art and gifted and talented classes at Meeker Elementary School until her retirement in 2006. Through many of her years as a teacher, she ran the Odyssey of the Mind, which late became Destination Imagination in the Meeker School District. During her time with these programs, she helped bring two teams of students to the world competition in Knoxville, Tenn.
An ever-giving person, Pat was always finding ways to help others. With her training in myotherapy, she helped many people in the Meeker community relieve their pain. Through the 1980s and 1990s it was not uncommon to have someone laying on the floor of the Hanks’ living room with Pat working on their trigger points. She was also forever involved in the activities of St. James Episcopal Church and loved being a part of the Episcopal Church Women.
Pat sat on several boards, including the library board and St. James vestry over the years. Pat was always available to write calligraphy notes, certificates and announcements for anyone who needed it. She also taught calligraphy classes in Meeker through Colorado Northwestern Community College and she judged art shows at the Rio Blanco County and Moffat County fairs.
Family was always the center of Pat’s life, and when she began having grandchildren, family became her primary focus. She loved nothing more than to get all six of her grandchildren together for a trip, vacation or just to hang out at Grandma’s house. She always had a Suburban because she wanted to make sure she had enough room for them all.
For many years, she took her six grandchildren on well-planned, adventurous “Grandma’s Getaway” trips. These trips created huge opportunities for the cousins to bond and build long-lasting relationships and fond memories.
Other wonderful traditions Pat set up for her grandchildren included: introducing the love of art and always having plenty of arts and crafts around the house, giving the gift of baking sweets and enjoying time cooking and especially enjoyed meaningful projects that glorified the holidays.
Pat was preceded in death by her parents and by her husband, Jim. She is survived by: her sister, Mary (Grant) of Estes Park and her children, Jim (Paulette) of Meeker, Andy (Brooke) of Gunnison, and Jennifer (Mark) Morrell of Grand Junction. She has six loving grandchildren, Mckayla, Drew, Megan, Eli, Laura Ann and Peter; and many nieces and nephews.
Although Pat favored many causes, most important to her was the St. James Episcopal Church in Meeker. Her desire was that any memorials in her name be given to the Saint James Endowment Fund.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2014, at St. James Episcopal Church at 4th and Park streets in Meeker.