Thomas W. “Tom” Hancock Jr. ’55

Thomas W. “Tom” Hancock Jr. USMC Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), age 79, answered the Lord’s call December 28, 2012 in Elizabethtown, NC after a lengthy illness.

He is predeceased by his parents T.W. “Ted” Hancock Sr. and Florabel Hancock.

A 1951 graduate of Georgia Military Academy, he received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of South Carolina and later a master’s in physical education from the University of Michigan. He married his high school sweetheart Miss Mary Lou Phillips of Chesterfield, S.C., and had a happy union and romance that lasted more than 57 years.

He proudly served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps for more than 20 years. During his time in Vietnam, he was commanding officer of the 3rd 8-inch Howitzer Battery (SP) and was the 1st Marine Division protocol officer. He earned a number of decorations for his distinguished service, including the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V; Navy Commendation Medal; Combat Action Ribbon; Presidential Unit Citation; Vietnamese Campaign Medal; Vietnamese Service Medal; RVN Unit Cross of Gallantry; and the Meritorious Unit Citation.

Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, he owned and operated the Western Auto store in Elizabethtown, N.C. and also managed the Elizabethtown branch of Star Telephone.

He loved coaching a variety of sports. His coaching career began when he was 18 years old and continued until he was 77. Three of the teams he helped coach won state championships.

A true outdoorsman who was always happy out hunting and fishing, he spent many hours on yard work and also relished growing tomatoes that were renowned for their quality and quantity and sharing them with friends and family.

He is survived by his beloved wife Lou and three children of whom he was so proud: daughter Ann(head basketball coach at Wingate University, Wingate, N.C.); son Steve ( a fitness specialist in Dallas, Texas) and son Jim and wife Polly ( a timber broker in Elizabethtown, N.C.). He had a special place in his heart for each of his grandchildren: Cassie, Cade, Emma and Hope.

Services will be Sunday, December 30, 2012 at Wesley’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, NC at 3:00pm.

In lieu, of flowers the family would like donations made to: Liberty Hospice, 44 McNeil Rd.Whiteville, NC 28472.

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