Frank Borden Hanes Sr.

July 24, 2013 

The gentle spirit of Frank Borden Hanes Sr., poet, novelist, journalist, farmer, outdoorsman, businessman, and philanthropist, slipped away on July 17th, 2013, leaving behind the family and friends he loved, and all who loved him in return. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mildred Borden and Robert March Hanes, his sister, Anne Hanes Willis, and his wife Barbara Lasater Hanes.

Frank was born in Winston-Salem on January 21st, 1920. He graduated from Woodberry Forest School in 1938 and from the University of North Carolina in 1942, where he was Rex of the Order of the Gimghouls and a member of the Carolina Playmakers. He was an officer in the US Navy in the Pacific during World War II, serving on the destroyer USS Wadsworth.

Frank was widely known and deeply appreciated for his generosity of spirit and of resources; for his warmth, his wit, and his plain-spoken, incisive candor; and for his strength of character, ethics, and honesty. He had a passion for the arts, for scholarship, and for civic engagement and advancement and was a longtime benefactor of UNC Chapel Hill, serving as founding chair of the Arts & Sciences Foundation and as a trustee of the Morehead-Cain Foundation for 36 years. "The whole span of his works and services to this University is a long season of friendship in multiple manifestations," UNC Professor Ruel Tyson said of him in 2002. Many thousands of students have benefited, as will countless more, from all manner of support – books, buildings, scholarships, professorships – that came freely from his heart and by his hand, though most may never know his name, as he would have it. Frank chaired the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation for many years, and he was the founding chairman of the New Winston Museum.

A dedicated man of letters, he was an early leader of the North Carolina Writers Conference. He helped put together its third annual meeting, in Edenton -- "the world's sultriest weekend," he later said -- and he chaired its fourth in 1953 – the year his book Abel Anders won the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry – at the Blue Ridge Tourist Court in Boone. His works include The Bat Brothers, The Seeds of Ares, Jackknife John, The Garden of Nonentities, Journey's Journal, and The Fleet Rabble, which received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction and was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He wrote the column "Out of the Fields" for the Winston-Salem Journal.

Frank's passion for the outdoors and life afield was boundless, ranging from cattle raising on his farm in Davie County to flyfishing for trout near Roaring Gap in Allegheny County to waterfowling at Dew's Island in Currituck. All his life he recalled with vivid clarity and affection riding on horseback up into the Crazy Mountains above Big Timber, Montana, during summers out West when he was in his teens. He instilled in his family a great respect and love of all animals.

Over his lifetime Frank was honored with the North Carolina Award for Public Service, the state's highest civilian honor, the William Richardson Davie Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award from UNC Chapel Hill, as well as an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Carolina. He also received the Fortner Award from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and the North Caroliniana Society Award for his longtime contributions to the state, its culture and its literature.

"I hope it will be joy that I bring the people," said Looking Glass in Frank's novel of the Nez Perce, The Fleet Rabble. Frank Hanes brought great joy, in every form, to his family, his friends, his community and his state for over ninety-three years. No higher virtue may be ascribed to a man in his life, and at its end; his friends are legion, and his good works fill the sky.

Frank is survived by his wife Jane Craig Hanes; his son Frank Borden Hanes Jr. and his wife Ann of Winston-Salem; his daughter Nancy Hanes White and her husband Monty of Raleigh; his daughter Robin March Hanes of Charlottesville, Virginia; five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, three nieces and one nephew. He is also survived by his stepchildren Cathy Craig Coles; Sally Craig; Chip Craig and his wife Wendy.

The Memorial Service will be held at Centenary United Methodist Church, Winston-Salem, on Saturday, July 20th, at 11 a.m. The family will receive friends at the home of Ann and Borden Hanes, 2870 Bartram Road, Winston-Salem, from 2 till 7 p.m. on Friday, July 19th.

The family is especially grateful for the exceptional care given by the aides of Piedmont Home Health Care. Frank was especially fond of his longtime family friends Lucy Doss and Geneva Tyler and her pies. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: the Frank Borden Hanes Fund, c/o The Arts & Sciences Foundation, CB #6115, UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-6115; the Wake Forest University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27157; or the New Winston Museum, 713 Marshall Street South, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101. Online condolences may be made through www.salemfh.com.

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