If you know Hank personally or know his story, you probably have enjoyed his singing over the years. He began his singing career at age 3 in exchange for homemade bagels at the Traub house in Bishopville, SC, started his first band called the ‘Jay Birds’ at age 13 and was a founding band member and lead singer for other high school bands such as the Marquis and the Duprees, ‘Hank Martin and the Classics’ in Jacksonville, Florida in 1962, and in 1971 along with Tommie James founded ‘Second Nature ‘ which was inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame in 2016 in North Myrtle Beach. While in college in Mississippi he sang with the ‘Reet’s’, ’Tim Whitsett and the Imperial Show Band’.
In Nashville along with being a singer and songwriter he also sang with ‘The Pat Patrick Big Band’. He was on the road with Dolly Parton in the early 1980’s shortly before becoming a very popular ‘pop’ jingle singer in New York for almost a decade back in the 80’s and 90’s until the new digital age shut down most of the jingle houses. He owned a recording studio, a publishing house and several music related businesses in Nashville and Chicago.
Most of his South Carolina friends and fans know him as the songwriter and recording artist of the newest state song ‘SC On My Mind’ and a song he wrote and recorded ‘Sumter Is My Sweet Home’. His Christian gospel album he recorded in the 1980’s is called ‘Thank You Israel’. He was commissioned to write a song about James Brown in celebration of his life growing up in Barnwell, SC. Hank invited Archie Jordan to write the song they recorded it in Nashville. It is called ‘Doin The James Brown’.
He continues to sing whenever possible at church at The Abbey in Pawleys Island, public events and festivals, house concerts, church concerts, senior living facilities, schools, weddings, funerals and Private parties. When seen in the audience at dances and shows he is often invited up to sing with bands such as ’Second Nature’, ‘Gary Lowder and Smokin Hot’, The Marsha Morgan Band’, ‘Sea Cruz’ and many other beach bands.
Even though he has had a sudden change of lifestyle and a wake up call, he is not finished singing. He keeps telling me over and over”I just want to get well so I can sing”.
Because of the grace of God, it was discovered during a life insurance physical and work up that Hank had a 80-90% blockage in his front main artery. This is known as the silent killer or widowmaker. He had no signs or symptoms and did not know he had a heart problem. Blood work indications, along with a nuclear stress test led to the heart cath procedure where the blockage was discovered.
Because of the hard to access location and the risk concerns, his Cardiologist doctor at St Thomas Murfreesboro decided it was best to wait to not put in the stents at that time and let the heart surgeons at St Thomas Nashville fix this blockage. This is scheduled for Tuesday January 7 at 10:00. Unless stents can not fix his problem, heart surgery will not be necessary and he should be out of the hospital the next day.
He is currently out of the hospital, enjoying family and friends, praying, resting, watching football and reading about his new diet and lifestyle changes. Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
I will be posting all updates on his procedure, recovery and rehab here. Not everybody is on Facebook or Instagram but everyone who is interested can log in here and leave him words of love and encouragement. Please forgive us as we are not always able to respond to all of the beautiful comments. He and I are blown away by the huge number of comments on FB and all of your thoughtful words and prayers.
I know this is a long post but many of his new friends and followers have requested that I as his new wife, best friend, companion and manager share his story. We are both from Sumter, SC and 55 years after he graduated Edmunds with my oldest sister Judy Gattshall in 1962 (I was 11 at that time) we renewed an old church family friendship at the Beach Music Hall of Fame Induction in 2016 in North Myrtle Beach. We were married July 14, 2017 as we were both widowed and had become friends through Facebook.