Cover photo for Barbara Jean Hanks's Obituary
Barbara Jean Hanks Profile Photo
1924 Barbara 2018

Barbara Jean Hanks

July 7, 1924 — June 5, 2018

Longtime Shelley, Idaho resident, Barbara Jean Poll Hanks passed away peacefully, on June 5, 2018 in Renton, Washington. Jean was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Donald Max Hanks; her sister Rose Poll Cousin, and her brothers Elmer Floyd Poll and Norman Charles Poll.

Jean is survived by four daughters: Susan (Greg) Fernald of San Felipe, Mexico, Alison (Gary) Addicks of Rice, WA, Maxine Hanks of Salt Lake City, UT and Jeanie (Darrell) van Amen of Bellevue, WA,; 11 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Jean was born on July 7, 1924 and raised in Idaho Falls by her parents Charles Clive Poll and Iva Field Poll. She adored her mother Iva whom she described as "an angel" and she was very close to her sister Rose. Her mother's family lived in Idaho Falls area, so Jean grew up up around her aunts, uncles and cousins. She admired her mother's sisters, her "Field Aunts," especially "Aunt Rae."

Jean was a very active child who "could never sit still" -- she loved swimming and playing “ball” in summer, and ice skating and sledding in winter. She attended Idaho Falls schools and enjoyed art, music, writing, typing, poetry, and served on the newspaper staff at Idaho Falls High School, where she graduated in 1942. A couple of her poems were published in the Idaho Falls Post Register.
During high school, she enjoyed double dating and shopping with her best friend Rita Morrissey. After graduation, she took a job with the Atlantic Commission, in Shelley. It was there she met handsome young Max who was driving his father's potato trucks, to be weighed at her office. Jean said she immediately knew he was "the one."

Jean was transferred to Stockton, CA for one summer, and although she enjoyed the experience, she was homesick and moved back home, reconnecting with Max. They were engaged on Easter, 1944, and married on June 21, 1944. That same night, Max was called to active duty in the U.S. Army at Ft. Douglas. After a short honeymoon to Yellowstone, he left Jean at home and reported for duty in Salt Lake. Their marriage was sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple shortly after he returned from the service in October, 1945.
During the 1940s-50s, Max and Jean travelled to military bases in Texas, Alabama, and Florida where Max took further training in the Army and learned to fly airplanes. They also built their dream home in Shelley, where their four daughters were born and raised. In 1953, Jean suffered acute hepatitis and feared she would not survive; but the doctor predicted she would recover and “outlive us all” which she did.

In 1964, Max found work as a pilot in Walla Walla, Wash., where he and Jean lived for 2.5 years, before buying their own flying business in Sunnyside, Wash. Jean was skilled in secretarial and accounting work so she managed the family business as bookeeper and office manager. Jean and Max led an active, happy life on the Sunnyside airport for a dozen years from 1967 to 1979. Their business, home and family life all thrived, producing many happy times as their daughters grew through grade school into college.

Jean loved homemaking and caring for her family, she was an excellent cook who made delicious breads, pies, carrot pudding, candies, jams, pickles, and chokecherry syrup, often requested by others. Jean was a good seamstress who made many quilts and knitted countless sweaters, hats, scarves, slippers, and mittens for family. She was also fond of art, sketching, crafting, home decorating, and painting, as taught by her father, who was a painter.

Jean loved music and surrounded herself with it daily -- playing the piano for family, home, and church, and listening to records or radio, especially the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She loved singing with her family, and dancing with her husband Max to their favorite 1940s songs.

She also enjoyed serving as a member, teacher, librarian, pianist, visiting teacher and youth leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A deeply spiritual person, Jean relied upon God all her life, listening for divine guidance, companionship and comfort. She valued her Mormon pioneeer heritage, and admired her great-aunt, Mary Field Garner, and her historian cousin Richard D. Poll.

In 1979, Jean and Max sold their flying business and moved back to Shelley, living in the Hanks family home. Here they shared 23 golden years, serving community and church, hosting family gatherings, camping, traveling, and ranching on the Snake River. These were immensely happy times, until Max died in 2003.

Jean felt lost without Max, comforted only by visits from her daughters and their families, and the presence of her daughter Maxine. In 2008, Jean was moved to a care center in Shelley, then to Renton, Washington near her daughter Jeanie, where she lived her last nine years.
One of Jean's challenges in life was the hearing loss she suffered as a teen, leaving her deaf in one ear. This caused anxiety when she was away from home or around strangers, which continued all her life; she never ceased asking to return to her little house in Shelley.
In spite of her deafness and disorientation amid strange surroundings, her soul radiated love and appreciation to those who visited or cared for her, and she held them close. When asked how she felt, she often replied "Oh, I’m pretty good, how are you?" Her sense of humor also survived to the end, surfacing in wry comments about her condition or circumstances.

Funeral services will be 11:00 A.M. Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Shelley First Ward Chapel (185 N Park Ave.). The family will meet with friends Saturday morning from 9:30 till 10:40 a.m. at the church. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Nalder Funeral Home in Shelley. Burial will be in the Shelley Hillcrest Cemetery next to her beloved husband Max..

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Jean Hanks, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, June 16, 2018

9:30 - 10:40am (Mountain time)

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

11:00am - 12:00pm (Mountain time)

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