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1952 Robert 2022

Robert Hankey

July 10, 1952 — December 23, 2022

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert (Bob) Hankey on December 23, 2022, at the age of 70. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, co-worker, volunteer, classmate, friend and leader.

Bob was preceded in death by his grandparents; parents, Bart & Irene Hankey all of Park River ND; and his beloved daughter, Maren Hankey (2019). All were important in Bob’s life and he missed them dearly.

Bob will be remembered by his wife of 38 years, Cindy; sons, Blake (Kelsey Hankey) of Harwood ND, Brandon (Kelsey Schultz) of Duluth MN, and Benjamin (Brittany Borck) of Minneapolis; grandchildren, Lucas Hankey, Gustav and Lilia Hankey, and Felix Hankey; sisters, Susan (Tony) May of Cedar Rapids, IA and Anne (Don) Dalbey of Noyes MN; nieces and nephews, Dixie (Jake) Sele, Dustin (Megan) Dalbey, Shannon Dalbey, Aaron (Linda) May-Zhang and Marita (Connor) O’Connell; aunt, Lucille (Pud) Thompson of Park River ND;  aunts, Miki (Jim) Hayden of Crystal Lake IL and Joanne (Bill) Pierce of Canton CT; as well as extended family and friends.

Bob was born in Red Lake Falls, MN,  the first born of three children. As a young child, he moved with his family to Park River ND where he grew up.  After high school, Bob completed a degree in Speech, Language and Audiology at North Dakota State University and a master’s degree in Audiology at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Bob worked for several years as an audiologist at the Rehab Hospital (now Altru) in Grand Forks ND. In 1997, in search of new challenges, Bob completed a Neurophysiology fellowship in Philadelphia PA and moved with his family to Omaha NE, where he established ‘Neurophysiology Consultants’, providing neuromonitoring services to several surgical groups in Omaha, Lincoln and surrounding areas. Bob loved both of his careers; the challenges, the clients, the patients, and most of all his coworkers. 

Bob met the love of his life Cindy in Grand Forks in 1978, shortly after Cindy started graduate school at the University of North Dakota. They married in 1984 and bought an acreage in Manvel ND where they devoted themselves to raising their children, their careers, and gardening. Bob very much appreciated the rich soil of the Red River Valley and worked tirelessly to “extend the growing season” with DIY cold frames made of discarded storm windows. Over the years, Bob built three greenhouses, each unique in its own way.  He loved being “in the greenhouse” and was at peace with the world when planting, watering and harvesting tomatoes.

In 2012, after selling his business and retiring to Woman Lake in northern MN, Bob and Cindy built a cabin at the lake large enough for family and friends to gather. Bob was a natural host. His greatest joy was watching his children, grandchildren, extended family and friends spending time together. Bob could always think of something new to make time together memorable whether that be related to food, games or music. He loved family sing-a-longs; they became a natural part of most gatherings.

In retirement, Bob also had more time to serve his community, where he devoted energy to the Hackensack Food Cooperative, the Child, Girl, Woman Lakes Area Association (CGWLAA) and to Woodrow Township as a township supervisor. Bob put pride into everything he did and had a way of honoring what each person contributed to the task at hand.  He had two mottos “Many hands make light work” and “Never burn a bridge”. Bob excelled at bringing people together around a shared task and was unfailingly fair, equitable, and respectful of others.

Bob formed long-lasting friendships throughout his lifetime. Prior to retirement, he was active in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Grand Forks and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Omaha, as well as the Sertoma Club of Grand Forks. He will be fondly remembered as a person of reflection, thoughtful action, collaboration, and “getting things done”. Bob had no regrets in how he chose to live his life but grieved to the end the time he would not have with his grandchildren.  In his own words, “my grandchildren are all bright stars, each casting their own special light”.

The family would like to extend their deepest thanks and gratitude to the staff at the Crosby Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital and the St. Luke’s Hospice program in Duluth who attempt to do the impossible each and every day. A special thank you also to the volunteers from the Countryside Food Co-op in Hackensack MN, the CGWLAA in Longville MN, and Woodrow Township for working together to make the world a better place. Finally, a special thank you to Tom Larson of Savage MN, a friend Bob has known since kindergarten and considers to be a brother. We are grateful.

In accordance with Bob’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday January 19th at 11:30 AM at the Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E. Second Street, Duluth MN.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Hankey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

Dougherty Funeral Home Duluth

600 East Second Street, Duluth, MN 55805

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