Celebration of Life ceremony will be on Saturday June 12, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Forest Park Baptist Church. Catered lunch to follow provided by the ladies of the church.
Internment will be at Hankins family burial section of the Fidelity Cemetery in Fidelity, Missouri at a later date.
Pamela was born in and raised in Miami of the family farm until the age of 10 when the family moved to Fidelity MO. Pamela resided in Joplin during her adult life Pamela passed unexpectedly from a heart attack on June 8, 2021 surrounded by her loving family.
Pamela was born to Bonnie Nichols and the late Billy Earl Hankins on November 27,1952 in Miami, Oklahoma. Pamela’s father, step father Albert Hayter and her siblings Donald Eugene and Dana Dean preceded her in death. Pamela’s surviving family include her mother and siblings: Connie Cook of Webb City; David E. Hankins (Beverly) of Joplin and sister, Julie White (Bill) of Clever MO. Several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Pamela was the first of six children to graduate from Missouri Southern State (college) University. She was a member of the Young Republicans and was a political activist until her death. Pamela was happy to learn her DAR patriot 8th grandfather was an uncle to Nancy Hanks and cousin to the first Republic President, Abraham Lincoln. She served on the college student council to finance and personally catered to celebrities such as Liza Minnelli, Cicely Tyson and Lily Tomlin. She was a lifelong fan of “Liza with a Z” and loved the song “Life is a Cabaret” which involved several musicians enduring hard times but living life to its fullest with freedom.
Pamela graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Journalism and had started her Master’s Degree. She never married and never had children though she has found love and lost love. Upon graduation from college, she became a social worker with State of Missouri Division of Family Services. She has always been generous to a fault to her family and friends. While at DFS, Pamela helped many families that found themselves in need during catastrophic times. She was instrumental in coordination of the Joplin NALA (Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action) program. She was a member of American Association of University Women ( AAUW) and alumni of Missouri Southern State University. After 13 years with DFS, she ended her career as a Medicaid Fraud investigator upon being diagnosed with a Bipolar Disorder. She was a former resident of the Frisco Station Apartments.
Since her retirement she had her challenges with life but volunteered throughout Joplin in different capacities. After high school, she lost 100 pounds and began running 5 k charity races which ended after 2 knee replacements. With that and a shattered ankle, it did not prevent her from walking with a cane or stop her from getting on the Joplin blue Trolley with the driver Eddie. Pamela was a devout Christian and was a member of Forest Park Baptist Church where her parents and siblings attended, she served on the Joplin City Council as a representative for American Disability’s Act, she supported the Mission Joplin program, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 434 and a volunteer of Fidelity Cemetery. She helped her former neighbors of the Frisco Station Apartments relocate based on the review of their resources. Pamela was a guest columnist with the Joplin Globe and had written such articles as Residence Change Means Lifestyle Change and Candidates Have Lost Sight Of What’s Important. Pamela has also written tear jerking articles about our family’s mom and pop store closing. Pamela assisted in the Federal prosecution of the former Jasper County Public Administrator, Rita Hunter.
It was said of Pamela by Molly Sheffield that Pamela was a pleasure to have as a patient. Pamela made and received calls on a daily basis to and from her friends, her former neighbors and her church group. She was adamant, on a fixed income, to send cards saying “this is what I do”. It almost seemed she saw someone she knew everywhere in Joplin and they took the time to make sure SHE was doing alright. These were friends or acquaintances from all walks of life.
Pamela encouraged others with words of “everything will be ok” and “deferred gratification”. In her wallet she carried a card which depicted “the Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:14”.
By all who knew Pamela, they knew her as a woman truly devoted to her family, friends, God and Country.
In lieu of flowers and cards, the family is requesting memorial donations be made to the Forrest Park Baptist Church of Joplin and Mission Joplin.
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