Jennie P. Hanks, 98: Loved her role as family matriarch

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BRUNSWICK — Jennie Pilley Hanks, 98, of Thornton Hall and formerly of Woodside Road, died Aug. 10 at the Mid Coast Senior Health Center in Brunswick.

She was born Dec. 19, 1914, in Belfast, the daughter of Calvin Pilley of Brooks and Mary Maroney of Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, in Ireland.

Hanks was proud of her Irish heritage and was distinguished by her long red hair. She attended Belfast schools and was a 1932 graduate of Crosby High School. She traveled to Worcester, Mass., to attend and graduate from Becker Junior College in 1934 with a degree in business.

Upon returning to Belfast, she was employed at the Emergency Relief Administration and later as agricultural conservation clerk in the county courthouse.

In 1938 she married Bradbury Hanks, of Augusta, and they settled in Brunswick. Her husband of 53 years died on Sept. 20, 2001.

During the early years in Brunswick, Hanks cared for her growing family. She later worked at Brunswick Naval Air Station as a civil servant, handling accounting for the supply department, for more than 20 years.

Hanks was fond of animals and had a special affection for dogs. She enjoyed playing the piano, singing, doing crossword puzzles, and reading biographies. She was passionate about her religion and her politics, and was a loyal member of “Red Sox Nation” who attended many games.

In recent years, she enjoyed being the family matriarch and encouraged the next generation’s endeavors. While living at Thornton Hall, Hanks made many new friends and participated in numerous activities.

She is survived by three daughters, Nancy Hanks Laitala and her husband Theodore Laitala, Mary Hanks White and her husband Houghton White, and Elizabeth Hanks Leonard; son Stephen Hanks; sister Margaret Pilley White, her daughter, Jo Anne White Quittmeyer, and her husband George Quittmeyer, all of Brunswick; 13 grandchildren, Ian Laitala, Jennie Laitala Driscoll, Kerry Laitala, Shannon Laitala Harney, Lucy White, Mary White, Sean White, James Phin White, Zachary Leonard, Jessica Leonard Kuatov, Matthew Leonard, Ethan Leonard and Catherine Hanks Shields; 11 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her husband, she is predeceased by her brother, John Michael Pilley; an infant son, John Michael Hanks; sister Loretta Aubertine and two great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Aug. 12 at St. Charles Borromeo Church-All Saints Parish in Brunswick, followed by interment in Grove Cemetery in Belfast.

Her family extends its thanks and sincere appreciation to the staff at Thornton Hall, Parkview Hospital, Mercy Hospital and the Bodwell Unit at the Mid Coast Senior Health Center for their care and support.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Coastal Humane Society, 30 Range Road, Brunswick, ME 04011.

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