Remembering Hank

by longformphilly

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Dick Jerardi | Philadelphia Daily News | February 2015

As the lady emerged from the Mount Lawn Cemetery office in Sharon Hill, she was asked how to go about finding a gravesite.

“Do you have a last name for me?”

“Gathers,” she was told.

“Hank Gathers?”

“Yes.”

She went around to the corner of the building, pointed across Hook Road to a spot just beyond a giant headstone with the name “ARNOLD” on it, explaining the grave was right behind that. This was not the first time she had been asked the question.

“Is he some kind of a celebrity?” she asked.

Actually, he was a son, a father, a brother, a friend, a high school legend in North Philly and the heart of a college team that will be remembered long after many of the national champions are forgotten.

The cemetery, a mile west of the airport just beyond Darby Creek where 84th Street turns into Hook Road, is bisected by the road, traffic flying by incessantly, a subtle but constant reminder of our hurry on the way to some unknowable future.

Just beyond the “ARNOLD” headstone (where the father and brother of former Saint Joseph’s player and current assistant Geoff Arnold are buried), easily visible from Hook Road across from the office, sits a small circular drive surrounding a giant bush on a grassy island. Just as you get to the end of the drive, you look out to the right and there is the gravesite:

GATHERS

ERIC

HANK

Writer bio: Dick Jerardi is a sports columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. This year marks his 30th anniversary with the tabloid.

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