James Curtis Hankins Jr. aged 75, died suddenly on Saturday, 30Apr2022 at UNC Hospital-Chapel Hill of a complication following a procedure. James was born on 7Jan1947 in Benton Harbor, Michigan to the late James C. Hankins Sr. and Evelyn Louise Smith. From the age of 12, he grew up in Salisbury, NC.
James graduated from East Rowan High School. Upon completion of five years serving his country in the Air Force, he earned an Associate of Arts & Sciences, Brevard Community College, FL and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honors, 1987 from New York University.
He served in a variety of TQM/CQI positions; Quality Manager, Quality Engineer, Senior Supplier
Surveillance Specialist, Senior Supplier Quality Assurance Representative, Non-Destructive Testing Technician, primarily in the Automotive, Nuclear, Petrochemical, and Aerospace industries including Borg Warner Automotive, GKN Automotive, Carolina Power & Light, The Ralph M. Parsons Company, and Boeing Aerospace. He led and championed the ISO 9000, QS 9000, TS 16949, and ISO 14000 program Development, resulting in company ISO certification in a minimal amount of time. Jim justifiably, took great pride in achievements in areas such as identifying and implementing new start-ups and optimization programs that have led to increased quality, productivity, and safety initiatives across the manufacturing lines. During this time, he traveled widely across North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He held several professional certifications including:
Certified Quality Manager (CQM), ASQ, 2000 Certified Quality Auditor (CQA), ASQ, 2000 Certified Lead Auditor ISO/QS 9000, 2000 (QMS) Certified Lead Auditor, ISO 14000, 2000 (EMS) American Society for Quality American Society for Quality IATCA of Ireland EARA of United Kingdom
Prior to and after his career as a Quality Management expert, he worked at a variety of interesting positions, not the least of which was related to welding on the Alaska pipeline (he completed welding certificates), driving a truck up the east coast and selling Harleys in Durham.
Once he retired Jim, became a voracious consumer of everything “news, sports, entertainment, social media,” spending many hours a day reviewing all his news feeds, Tarheel sports and FB friends. He also enjoyed helping create a unique, comfortable home by picking tastefully bold wall colors for each room, populating the bookshelves and CD towers (300 disks) hanging artwork strategically throughout and staging display cabinets with mementos from travels. One of his more delightful outings was regular trips to the Raleigh Fairgrounds Flea Market on any given weekend where we found unique items that always enhanced our surroundings at home. These trips almost always included a “fairground hotdog from the Sabrett lady” or a trip to Char Grill for a burger and milkshake. If we weren’t at the Fairgrounds, we would be at the NCMA viewing the latest exhibits or brunching at Iris restaurant there. Trips to Asheville were almost always a once or twice yearly event. For many years, the debate was “stay here or move to Asheville.” Ultimately, he stayed and will remain in Chapel Hill.
Survivors include Marilyn P. Agney, his partner of 18 years, (estranged) son Seth J. Hankins and grandsons Camden J. and Dylan M. Hankins of Fuquay-Varina, NC.
From about the age of 12, Jim raised his son Seth as a single parent. He took immense pride in witnessing Seth graduate from UNC! From that time on Jim was an avid Tarheels fan, following all things “Heels.” (Indeed his coffin is a lovely Carolina Blue). His son and his grandsons were the light of Jim’s life; it was his greatest wish to see his grandsons graduate from high school…and if he was really fortunate, see them both walk across a stage at college graduation. While the grandsons were younger, he thoroughly enjoyed family vacations to new places or reprising his favorite trip to California, which he had taken when his son was younger.
Jim had a couple of serious chronic health conditions which he successfully managed for many years. Making sure he “hit the gym” 4 days a week and did an hour on the treadmill at an elevation that equaled Mount Everest was key to maintaining his health. In the words of his beloved endocrinologist, Dr. John Buse, (Jim) “had a good ride and got out better than many.”
Jim had tremendous appreciation for the years of care and warm relationships with Dr. Jeffrey L. Klein, and his Cardiology Fellows and Dr. Buse, in particular. Words are scarcely enough to express gratitude to the UNC Hospital staff on the day Jim “crashed;” Nikki who responded immediately to Jim’s bedside, assessed the situation, and activated the Rapid Response team. Quickly she began CPR while the Code team was called. Jim’s “DNR” wish had been that every effort be made to save his life….and it was done. Thanks too, to Matt the “Saturday Chaplin” who could not have been more supportive and the CICU staff who worked so hard to get a good outcome.
Friends will be received for Visitation on Wednesday, 11May2022 at Walker’s Funeral Home 120 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, from 1:00-2:00 pm. Immediately following, a graveside service will be held at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery (Fordham Blvd). Flowers are welcomed and appreciated as are donations to American Heart Association and/ or American Diabetes Association in James’ name or to a charity of your choosing. Online condolences may be sent to Ms. Agney and the Hankins family at www.walkersfuneralservice.com.