Neil Hanks, a resident of West Plains, formerly of Willow Springs, passed away Friday morning, February 19, 2021 while at Brooke Haven Healthcare in West Plains. He was born May 29, 1933 in rural Howell County, MO to Clyde and Ruby (Gregory) Hanks and was 87 years old.

Neil received his elementary education in rural Howell County and went on to attend Willow Springs High School and Central Technical Institute in Kansas City. On July 2, 1952 he married Helen C. Hudson in Mountain Home, AR. They remained happily married for 68 years. Neil proudly served his country in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955. Neil was employed in Communications with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for more than 34 years, before retiring in 1991. He and Helen lived most of their lives in Willow Springs before moving to Pleasant Valley Village in West Plains in 2007 because of health issues. Neil enjoyed playing golf with Helen and their friends.  He also enjoyed camping at the lake and Branson, MO in their motorhome. He loved taking the grandchildren to see shows and Silver Dollar City every year with Helen. He will be dearly missed by his family, his friends, and all who knew him.

Neil was preceded in death by his parents, Clyde and Ruby Hanks; his wife, Helen; his brother, Rex Hanks of Mtn. Home, AR; his sister, Mary Poppitz; father-in-law, Horace Hudson; mother-in-law, Olive Dodrill; step father-in-law, Joe Dodrill; brothers-in-law: Edward Hudson, Claude (Butch) Gauldin, John Hudson, David Hudson; and three nephews and two nieces.

He is survived by two daughters: Debra S. Martin and her husband, Mitchell of Montier, MO and Kathy A. Hickson and her husband, Danny of West Plains, MO; two grandsons: Preston Martin and friend, DeDe of Montier and Dr. Chad Walesky and his wife, Liz of Olathe, KS; one granddaughter, Michelle Martin of Mtn. View, MO; four great granddaughters: Cheyanna, Jerrica, Angel and Josie, who lovingly referred to him as "Pipaw."  Further survivors include his sisters: Louise Gauldin of Willow Springs and Mildred Simkins of Springfield, MO; David Poppitz and his wife, Linda; several nieces and nephews and a bunch of good ole buddies from the Willow Springs Golf Course, who called him "High Dollar."

In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests donations in Neil's memory be made to Willow Springs Scholarship Club, PO Box 484, Willow Springs, MO, 65793.

A visitation for Neil Hanks will be held on March 1, 2021 from 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. at First Baptist Church in Willow Springs with Pastor Joel Hinds officiating with the funeral service immediately following at 11:00 A.M.  Interment will be in the Willow Springs City Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Willow Funeral Home, LLC. Online condolences may be left at


Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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