Obituary: Dr. George Whitmore “Whit” Hancock, Jr.

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Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 4:28 PM EDT
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Dr. George Whitmore “Whit” Hancock, Jr., 79, of Marietta, OH passed away July 14, 2021, in Marietta.  He was preceded in death by his parents, George Whitmore Hancock, Sr. and Page Turner Hancock.  He is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, Carole Wylie Hancock, PhD, whom he married August 9, 1980, his sister, Ellen Hancock Wickersham of Atlanta, GA and loving cousins.

Born on April 25, 1942, in Richmond, VA, Whit was raised in Hampton and Newport News, VA, where he graduated as president and valedictorian of Newport News High School.  He received his undergraduate and PhD degrees in nuclear physics from The University of Virginia where he was a member and president of the Chi Psi fraternity, was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter and was a member of the Raven Society.

His love of science led him to a 32 year career as Professor Emeritus and Chair of the Department of Physics at Marietta College, Marietta, OH.  His legacy includes assisting in the design of the McDonough Leadership curriculum, being instrumental in the development of the Environmental Sciences Program, reinvigorating the College Honors Program and as secretary of the Phi Beta Chapter for many years.  He spearheaded the acquisition of the Phi Beta Kappa clock located on the campus mall.  Most notably, Dr. Hancock was honored in the naming of the Anderson Hancock Planetarium, funded by David Rickey, a former physics student and major college donor.

Whit’s family and friends loved him for his loyalty, integrity, intelligence and diligent pursuit of truth.  His interests led him to become a certified teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique.  Whit and Carole enjoyed supporting athletics at Marietta College.

The Hancock family extends appreciation to the staff of Marietta Memorial Hospital for their care.

Whit’s family will greet friends on Sunday, July 18, at the Marietta Chapel of Cawley & Peoples Funeral Home from 2:00-4:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm.

A private family graveside service will be held at Oak Grove Cemetery.

The family will be hosting an open house reception on July 24, 2021 at the Great Room of Andrews Hall on the Marietta College campus from 1:00-4:00 pm, with a Celebration of Life to be held at 2:00 pm. The Physics Department has graciously offered to do presentations at the Planetarium at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm in Whit’s honor.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Planetarium Facilities Endowment at Marietta College, 215 Fifth Street, Marietta, OH 45750 or to the Marietta Community Foundation in honor of Whit Hancock, 100 Putnam Street, Marietta, OH 45750.

Cawley & Peoples is honored to serve the Hancock family, offering on-line condolences and many other resources by visiting

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