Tom (Dorrel Thomas) Hanks (Jr.)

Profile Updated: August 20, 2009
Residing In: Waco, TX USA
Spouse/Partner: Carole Anne Hanks
Occupation: College Professor, College Minister
Children: Kirsten (born 1969, lives in Austin, TX); Thomas (born in 1981, currently in the Netherlands attending More…Univ of Utrecht), Stephanie (Thomas's wife, also attending Univ of Utrecht).
Military Service: U. S. Air Force  
What is your first instantaneous memory of Parkview?

Ruth Cunningham's English class, with Jerry England, Don Buts, and Sid Bowers providing clever answers to Ms. Cunningham's questions.

Who was your favorite teacher and/or class and why?

Ruth Cunningham: she first taught me how good Middle English sounds, and that led directly to my current position--teaching Middle English literature at Baylor University.

What was your most embarrassing moment at Parkview?

Probably almost anytime I tried dating someone.

What was your favorite song and who sang it?

Buddy Holly, "Peggy Sue."

Describe your car and favorite destination:

I had a '49 Chevy, and enjoyed going to Fisher's Drive-in (with almost all of Springfield's youth).

How have you changed since Parkview?

Rounder; more near-sighted; less sure of knowing all the answers (in fact, I doubt I even know all the questions); married to a woman who stimulates my growth every day.

What has been your most exciting or interesting experience?

Air Force Officer, then college teacher, and--concurrent with that--college minister at our church in Waco, TX.

What do you do these days to have fun?

Ride my motorcycle; attend movies; read fiction; go to new places with Carole (Oxford, UK, this past summer).

What is it you still hope to do/accomplish?

I want to write another book, write a couple of good articles about the Morte Darthur of Sir Thomas Malory, figure out what it means to be a minister (I'm still tentative in that area), and work harder at staying close to my friends.


Parkview did a good job of preparing me for college. From there to the Air Force was an easy jump (ROTC), and teaching at the USAF Academy was a kick--with a 6-week tour of duty in war-torn Vietnam to add a sober note.

I've been teaching at Baylor for 33 years, and I enjoy it more each year.

School Story:

The best memory I retain from outside class at Parkview is the long series of evenings when I joined Bud Iseman, Jack Smith (now deceased, I fear), Doug Thompson (deceased), Jack Sifford, Sid Bowers, Bryan Bolin, Tommy Crabb, Dorsey Dysart, and doubtless one-two others who presently evade my memory, to sit around one of the group's family rooms and talk about what seemed like major topics: what to do in case of Russian invasion, whether nature or nurture determined who we were and how we acted, how good ethics might best be determined, etc.

Tom (Dorrel Thomas)'s Latest Interactions

Jun 29, 2019 at 3:33 AM
Jun 25, 2018 at 3:33 PM

It hurts me that no one posted a comment on Doug. He was one of the first of us to die; having been removed from USAF pilot training (problem with his eyes), he went into something else, I think connected with Defense or perhaps a more civilian gov't group; we learned of his death, but never of the manner of his death. I think it was only 5-8 years after graduation from Parkview.

Doug was a lively member of the Parkview choir, remembered by me mostly for having done an inadvertent solo on the chorus of "Pick, Pick, Pick a peck of pickled peppers," during which Doug always substituted a different monosyllable of four letters. When Ms. Rathbone halted the others of us, Doug kept on singing--and his substitution rang out clearly (and identifiably) throughout the choir room. He--always florid of complexion--turned a brilliant red. Mrs. Rathbone sailed on as if she had not heard. The bass section developed a group case of high blood pressure caused by stifled guffaws.

Doug was also a good friend. He and several others of what we then called "The Brotherhood" caused a certain amount of mischief together; our peak may have been when we dissembled a yard fence and reassembled it across the street facing the owner. Unfortunately, the owner new my dad, and got my license number. He called Dad after we did it a second time, complaining mildly that twice was, really, once too often. I got the message ...

Camping, conversing, doing chores at Bud Iseman's farm--Doug always held up his end of the work, plus some. I have missed him for about 50 years.

Jun 29, 2017 at 3:33 AM
Jun 29, 2016 at 3:33 AM
Jun 29, 2015 at 3:33 AM
Dec 30, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Just re-read your profile, Jack--what useful and meaningful lives you two have led! I sent you a message about Betty Acuff--our numbers are valiant, but definitely dwindling. What was that song . . . "Staying Alive"? Some irony, somewhere . . .

Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:11 PM