Norman was the eldest son of Charles Alexander and Helen Irene Harmon Hankins of the Afton community in Greene County, Tennessee.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father and an infant brother. He is survived by his wife of forty-seven years, Dr. Marilyn Wampler Hankins, son Dr. Bentley Hankins and his wife, Dr. Erin Hankins. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. Ben Hankins, sister-in-law, Thana Hankins and nephew Eric Hankins and wife, Kim and several cousins.
Dr. Hankins attended Greene County public schools and was a graduate of Doak High School. He earned his undergraduate degree from Tusculum College, his Master’s Degree from East Tennessee State University and his doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Tennessee. He began his college teaching in 1964 at Memphis State University. From 1965 until 1988 he taught at East Tennessee State University, first in the Department of Psychology and then in the Department of Human Development and Learning, a department he founded and served as chairperson for 10 years. He was the author of Psychology of Contemporary Education (Charles E. Merrill, 1973) and author or co-author of six other psychology textbooks. Dr. Hankins was recognized by his colleagues in 1980 as a Distinguished Faculty Member who, in addition to being department chairperson, was a talented instructor, and a competent researcher. He and his wife were members of the ETSU President’s Trust. Dr. Hankins received Professor Emeritus status in 1989.
Upon his retirement from academia, he displayed his entrepreneurial skills in the private sector, establishing Hankins Vocational Consulting through which he primarily provided litigation support in various employment-related cases, including but not limited to Social Security disability, worker’s compensation and personal injury. His practice proved successful and eventually expanded from East Tennessee throughout the greater region, including involvement in cases in Middle and West Tennessee as well as Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina. In conjunction with his consulting work, Dr. Hankins was a longstanding member with leadership roles in the American Board of Vocational Experts and the American Rehabilitation Economics Association. He was also a sustaining member of the National Association of Rehabilitation Professionals and the Tennessee Psychological Association. In 2009, Dr. Hankins’ son, Bentley, joined him in his practice which has since been known as Hankins & Hankins Vocational Consulting. Though Dr. Hankins fully retired in 2013, the business’ name has remained the same in his honor.
Among his man avocational activities, Dr. Hankins was an avid runner, an antique collector and a nature lover. Though he didn’t take up running until his late 30s, he ended up logging over 30,000 miles and running in hundreds of road races. This included four marathons, including the Marine Corps Marathon and the Boston Marathon. He was also a member of the State of Franklin Track Club. Dr. Hankins had a passion for collecting antiques. He had a particular affinity for antique clocks that developed after his father gave him a clock prior to his passing in the late 1970s. This hobby took him all over the United States and Europe as he often attended conferences and tours held by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and the Antiquarian Horological Society. Dr. Hankins loved the outdoors and was often seen running or walking the streets and trails in Jonesborough. As a way to contribute to the beauty of nature, he often placed and maintained blue bird houses around Jonesborough and the surrounding area.
In both his professional and personal life, Dr. Hankins showed the utmost respect and kindness to everyone and was always the consummate gentleman. He will forever be loved and missed by those fortunate enough to have known him.
The family will gather to receive friends on Thursday, February 15, 2018 from 6:00 PM until a Memorial Service beginning at 7:00 PM at Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, Johnson City, TN.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to the ETSU Foundation or the Alzheimers Association.
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, TN 37604, (423) 610-7171, is honored to serve the Hankins family. This obituary was written by Dr. Hankins’ loving family.