Waves of Glory: The Beaver Dam Family’s Tradition of Service Honored | Regional news


Sgt. Edward Hankes graduated from Beaver Dam High School and joined the US Marines in 1943. He was stationed in Okinawa in the South Pacific. His son, Dave Hankes, said his father rarely spoke about his service.

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“I know he was in Okinawa and he once mentioned losing other Marines who were right next to him at the time,” Dave said. “He also mentioned a lot of rats.

He said his father became a phenomenal chef after working in the dining hall cooking for the troops.

“It was long before it became popular for a man to cook or become a chef. He was a pioneer, for sure.

Private John Hankes Jr. was the last of the Hankes to enter service, joining the US Marines in 1945. He, too, graduated from Beaver Dam High School and was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California.

There was a sixth brother who tried to enlist so that the Hankes brothers were represented in every branch of service, but he was declared 4-F at the time and was unable to join.

All of the brothers returned from WWII and stayed in the area. Many have returned to work in the decorating business that their father, John Hankes, started in 1935 behind the family home of Beaver Dam.

Hankes Decorators still exists today, now in its 86th year, at 326 E. Burnett St. with Steve and Gini Hankes at the helm.

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