In the days after Hank’s death, many tributes were written. Here are some of them.
October 31, 2007:
I was very saddened to hear that Hank past away on October 30, 2007. May
God, Ghod, the Universe, friends and family be with him and his nearest
and dearest at this time of grief.
Hank was a living legend. I spent many an hour marveling at his stories
of his rich life, fannish lore, and political discussions. I enjoyed
his sense of humor (including his puns), his political passion, and the
fact that he spoke his mind and did not suffer fools gladly. He was
always gracious, friendly, and hospitable to me and many others that
I've seen. He was also ferocious, fearless, and dangerous like the wolf
lord he was. My life was enriched knowing him.
He will be missed dearly wide and far.
-Randy B. Cleary
Southern Fandom Classic (Yahoo Group)
Hank’s Farewell, written November 5th, 2007:
Jerry and I, and Julie Wall, returned yesterday afternoon from Hank's
farewell party on Saturday at three. For those of you who could not
attend, I will try to describe the events.
Many, many friends of Hank, Toni, and Hank's family attended the main
program in the Chapel with its vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, and
many chandeliers. Floral offerings of every shape and kind flanked the
bierwhere Hank lay in state, with gauntleted hands and his favorite sword
and shield. Lances and other pole arms stood at attention among the
At the rear of the Chapel two tables held books, pictures of family
and fanzines. Easels held larger portraits of Hank and his family.
There was another, more informal, picture display in the Lounge.
Julie Wall welcomed the guests on behalf of the family, and
introduced the speakers that included, but were not limited to, Hank's nephew
Steve, Jerry Page, Jerry Proctor, Greg Phillips, Justin Proctor, Bill
Adams, Mike Weber, and lastly, Toni Weisskopf Reinhardt. The tributes
and remembrances continued for more than an hour and a half. Grown
men who met and grew to know Hank when they were teens in Birmingham and
in Atlanta told how Hank influenced their lives. To some he was the
father they did not have, while others testified to Hank's teaching
ability and the lessons they learned not only in the use and history
of Medieval arms and armor, but in gentlemanly conduct -- lessons that
stood them in good stead throughout life.
It was a sad occasion, but not entirely solemn. Tears were
punctuated with gales of laughter as one speaker after another reminded us of
Hank's sly wit, and some told told stories that others had never
heard. Meanwhile, a large screen displayed videos of Hank demonstrating and
teaching swordplay, and Hank at home with his wife, children, and
Toni asked us to have a party afterward, and we did. The "Con Suite"
was well stocked with funeral meats, but was too small to hold us all.
No food was allowed in the chapel, of course, so the crowd spilled
out into the parking lot with their food and had a picnic.
By 8 o'clock, the crowd had dispersed. We pitched in and cleaned up
after ourselves. The funeral home personnel remarked to Julie that
they had never seen such a well-organized group!
It's over. The world will never be the same again. I'm so glad I
knew him, and wish I had known him longer.
Southern Classic Fandom (Yahoo Group)
It was 1969. I was in the Army, stationed at Fort Knox, and I subscribed to the sword and sorcery magazine, Amra. One issue carried an article by Poul Anderson on a new organization, the Society for Creative Anachronism. Naturally, I was intrigued. He said that information was available from Paul Edward Zimmer. I had no idea who Paul Edward Zimmer might be, but I wrote him, and among other things I asked where I might find authentic replica medieval swords. Paul wrote back and said there was this guy in Birmingham, Hank Reinhardt, who could get quality swords made in Spain.
So I wrote, and Hank wrote back, and I wrote some more and so did he. This kept up for quite a while. Then my orders came down for Vietnam. I had 30 days leave time before I had to report to the flight for Cam Ranh Bay, and I knew I was going to have to spend some of that time with Hank. So I flew to Birmingham and Hank met me at the airport. We started talking and continued to talk virtually nonstop for the next three days.
We continued to correspond while I was overseas. Hank feared that I was not properly armed, so he sent me an axe. For a while there, I was the best-armed soldier in the Republic of South Vietnam. I passed that axe on to another GI when I left and sometimes wonder who has it now.
Back in the States and out of the Army, I met Beth and when we were engaged I took her to meet Hank before I took her to meet my parents. It was Hank’s approval that really counted. Hank’s wife, Janet, told Beth that for several days after my first visit Hank couldn’t talk. He’d worn his voice out during those three days.
There were many more visits in the years that followed and it was a great pity that we never lived very close together. After one such visit, I came home walking oddly. Beth asked what was the problem and I told her that Hank had dislocated my neck while we were wrestling, but it was okay because I had stabbed him while he had me in the headlock. It is very likely that many spouses wouldn’t understand such a thing, but Beth understood that Hank and I and a privileged few others shared a brotherhood that simply was not that of the modern world. Now that brotherhood is smaller by a factor incomparably greater than by the simple loss of a single member. Hank was the center and the best of us.
I won’t enumerate all his fine qualities because all assembled here know them as well as I do. We all loved him and will all miss him as long as we endure. I know that he will be there, big as always, in my final thoughts.
I last saw Hank a bit over a year ago, in Anaheim. The years had taken their toll on us both, as they have upon us all. We discussed it, as aging men will. We agreed that this, at last, was the Giant’s Nurse, against whom even Thor struggled in vain. On the other hand, it was a joy to see Hank and Toni together. Had he spent his last years without her rejuvenating presence, he would not have been with us as long as he was.
Even knowing of Hank’s health problems these last twenty years, I somehow expected that he would outlive us all. Death should spare those who are bigger than life. But such was not to be. When word of his passing reached me it took a time to sink in. When at last I accepted the truth of it, the first words to occur to me were those of the Black Douglas:
“Go thou foremost, brave heart, as was ever thy wont.”
I and the rest of your companions won’t be far behind.
John Maddox Roberts
November 2, 2007
Estancia, New Mexico
(Read by Jerry Page at Hank’s memorial service)
MY FRIEND HANK
For the years that I knew Hank, thought they were few
They seemed yet so many, for we shared the same view;
There are things that I learned from a man oh! so wise
His wisdom was open, not with disguise;
We talked about choices that a person will make
We talked about those that give and those who will take;
Because of those Talks I know I have grown
All because of my friend, he will always live on;
To whom much is given, much is required
Hank did much and that’s why he transpired;
To all who can say Hank is their friend
You will carry him always, even to your end;
For all that knew Hank and shared only just a minute
When he spoke of things, his life was in it;
So now as I end with this last verse
Thank you Heavenly Father, for Hank’s presence on Earth.
--Frederick L. Swift
I cannot conceive of the world without Hank Reinhardt. When he died, I recoiled: the news was so bad as to be utterly beyond possibility. But when we eulogized him, November 3, it felt as if all the years I’d spent in Southern fandom had been justified and fulfilled. Of course, we had to go.
Athens was prepping for a Georgia football game, and as we tried to find the funeral home, we blundered into the charming student sector and mobs of scarlet-clad Bulldogs. A call to Bernstein & Sons taught us that I’d copied the address wrong, and brought us to the proper place.
There were a lot of us there. Of our current number, Ned, our senior member, Warren, our newest one, Br’er weber and me, but also a slew of our former SFPA siblings: Randy Cleary, Ward Batty, George Inzer, Steve Hughes with Suzanne, Jerry Page, Sue Phillips … and Toni, of course. There were many others from Southern fandom: Pat and Naomi, the Proctors – Charl and Jerry and Valerie and Carl, looking like a cop looks, looking at you like a cop looks – Julie Wall ably running the show, Pat Gibbs and his fellow Hearts masters the Zielkes, Tim Bolgeo, Diane Hughes who used to comfort me as conventions ended, Rich Garrison for the first time in a hundred years, Joe McCarthy, the “Nedphew”, very dapper. Joe looked young – he should, at 22 or so – but I was distressed at how some of the other people appeared to have aged.
But I was impressed that they were there … and at how many strangers there were: Hank’s relatives, business associates, co-workers of Hank’s daughters. Many the people who came to note his passing.
We formed a loose line to enter, signing in at the back of the chapel. Before easels covered with photos of Ulric of Wolfhaven were two tables spread with Xeroxed copies of Hank’s SFPAzines. I was dismayed at how shoddy those zines I had published for the wolflord looked next to those Lon Atkins had mimeoed. A day or two before I had had the nightmarish duty of phoning Lon – retired in Virginia – and telling him that his old friend was gone. The captains and the kings depart … But it moved me to find The Reinhardt Roast there. Its tributes to Hank are 32 years old now, but like their subject, ageless.
It was a high room, with an arched ceiling and exposed beams, and before the pews we could see Hank as he was and Hank as he had now to be. Hank’s shield leaned against the casket; his helm rested on a table. Among the flowers and spears arranged before the podium Hank’s body, a sword at its side, lay in repose, emptied of its ineffable spirit. But that spirit was present: on a screen above the speaker’s dais a loop of home movies played, showing the wolflord teaching swordplay to an apprentice, throwing an axe, cavorting with his grandkids, a pre-teen girl and Owen, a boy of about 8. They were there, playful, not intimidated at all by the situation.
Hank’s spirit … Those of us who spoke in the celebration that followed talked a lot about Hank’s spirit, his character, and his influence. Each of us seemed to come at our subject from a slightly different angle, reflecting the truth that each person sees each other person differently than does anyone else. His nephew talked about Hank’s giving him a knife when he was in the 2nd grade and leading him on a climb up Stone Mountain. Bill Adams, his business partner, described the creation of Museum Replicas, Inc., the antique weapons business that sent Hank around the world – and how after Janet died Reinhardt had devoted himself to his daughters, “more important than anything else in life,”. Br’er mike took photos of the assemblage from the dais, and remarked that “Hank still doesn’t seem small.” “Save me a seat by the fire,” he asked Hank’s spirit. “I don’t qualify for Valhalla.”
A child cried near the front of the chapel; we thought it might be Katie. Jerry Proctor came forward. “Hank was a gift to me from my family,” he said, describing how a Birmingham News feature he had edited led to their meeting, a lifelong friendship, and the feasts, revels, battles and bushwah that followed. Jerry ascended to head the Barony of Iron Mountain after Hank moved to Atlanta, a 7-year hitch. As I said in Spiritus Mundi, earlier this mailing, Jerry it was who kept the rest of us advised of Hank’s hospitalization, and it was he who wrote the superb obituary for the News, that heads this account.
Witt Lewis, a Conan fan and one of Hank’s “boys,” praised Reinhardt’s generosity with his time and his knowledge – and his friendship – when approached by himself, a 17-year-old neofan. Greg Phillips spoke of the things which would always evoke Hank for him: lime in his iced tea, a 1970 GTO, lines from True Grit, any sword. No one, he said, molded and shaped him more than Reinhardt. “If I’d ordered him out of a catalog, he couldn’t have been better.” Justin “Carl” Proctor hailed Hank’s skills as a teacher, his skills, his patience – “Here have an axe and throw it!” Rich Garrison spoke of Hank as a surrogate father, a man dedicated to his family who “Never met a person who wasn’t a friend to him.” He fondly recalled Hank’s “singing axes.”
Steve Hughes was probably the most evocative of all of us, first reading a memorial from Pat Gibbs – who was there, but who doubted he could stand to speak – then hailing Hank as a man who retained the passions of his youth and never grew old. “For myself,” Steve said, “I will miss the boy who still read Planet Comics.”
Steve spoke superbly. But I think I most felt our communal loss when Jerry Page came to the fore. This day must have been especially tough on Page, whose friendship with Hank dated to 1959. He read a missive from Billy Pettit, another from John Maddox Roberts, then recalled his remarkable three-way friendship with Hank and Jerry Burge, their mutual love of Planet Comics and Murphy Anderson’s “Star Pirate”. Jerry closed with a fantasy of a cramped party at some eternal worldcon, full of great SFers and fantasists, with Hank in attendance, and Burge, and Robert E. Howard … and all the rest of us …
Finally, our brave Toni came up, thanking us, telling one last funny story, keying one last Reinhardt quality – that he made a conscious decision to be a gentleman. It was an absolutely righteous observation. For Reinhardt treated his character, not just his caricature, as a matter of choice. Something I too tried to express. If despair is a decision, then joy is too, and Hank chose joy. He chose to live with zest and spirit and humor and integrity, never giving up the identity he found fulfilling and true, always willing to let people live their own lives as they saw fit, sharing his values and exalting that which he found worthy: courage, responsibility, care, and above all, humor. Hank was enjoyed for being a great character, but loved for being a man of great character. He never withheld his friendship. He never betrayed a friend. He was a giant soul not because of how loved and accepted he was, but because of how loved and accepted he made others feel. Oh yes, this was quite a cat. His shouting days with mirth were crowned, / and still I dream he treads the lawn, / walking ghostly in the dew, / pierced by our glad singing through.
We chowed down on the epic BYO feast, talking about Hank, catching up with one another. We seemed loathe to separate. (The communal feeling has lasted, as seen by the traffic in the SouthernFandomClassics group. Curt Phillips runs it; I can direct you to him.) Just before Rosy and I took off for our motel – 40 miles away; so it goes in college towns during football season – I returned to the chapel. Jerry Page walked to the casket for a final look at his old friend. He shook his head in regret; Jerry’s the last of Atlanta’s Three Musketeers, and nobody wants to be the last one.
Hank’s grandson bopped by – Owen, about 9, a likely and cheerful lad. He paused by the open casket, no doubt perplexed a little by the stillness of the artifact within, resembling and yet so alien to the vital being still living on the video loop. I called him over, telling him how lucky we had all felt to have known his grandfather, and how much we all thought of Hank Reinhardt.
“Yeah,” said Owen. “And he taught me to shoot a bow.”
-Guy H. Lillian III
I first met Hank in the summer of 1964. I was new to Atlanta and had placed an ad in the newspaper looking for science fiction fans. Hank called and then came to my apartment bringing Jerry Burge and Jerry Page. We got together frequently over the next few years and became good friends. Many a night, we would talk on the phone, usually about the superiority of Conan, pulp magazines, Hank's tom cat Michael and Hank versus the world.
Although we went to a few conventions together in the 60's, I never knew the later convention side of Hank. I knew him rather as a friend, a fascinating conversationalist, and a thoroughly nice person. He had great strength, and of course strong opinions. But even when we disagreed, it never became angry. We always teased each other a little to show time didn't matter.
I started traveling a lot, but always stayed in touch with Hank. I visited whenever possible, though it never seemed like enough. One of the joys of knowing Hank was that he would pick up a conversation right where we left off a year or two earlier. And we could still share all we had in common and sort out the ills of the world until early in the morning.
On memory that sticks out is a visit to Hank when he lived in Birmingham. The apartment building next door caught fire and we spent most of the night watching the firefighters. Of course, Hank forever said we got on like a house a fire. And that he had arranged it for entertainment.
When Hank moved back to Atlanta, I met his daughters, though much too briefly. But then we expanded our shared interests by talking about our families and watching them grow up.
Later, I encountered Toni through the internet and learned of another side of Hank. And always good. I never heard Hank angry or mad and never heard anything negative about him. He was a true friend and a joy to know.
The last time Hank and I were face to face was at the LA Worldcon. We slipped away to the hotel bar and spent a few hours talking about what was wrong with the world, how much youth was wasted on the young, and of course Conan.
Next year, I had planned on coming to visit Hank and Toni and spending some time in Atlanta. I was really looking forward to that and now he's gone. And I really really miss him.
Knowing Him - Gregory Benford
I heard of Hank's death while at the Jules Verne conference in Nantes, France. The resonance could not be more profound. Hank believed in our future.
I met him when I was 13, at the only meeting of the Atlanta SF Organization I attended. That meeting thrilled me and my brother Jim: here were fanzines, published by people who knew the one true genre. Yes, I thought: Dreams made solid.
Hank stood square at the center of the meeting, older and solid and wise. The first fan we ever met.
He has been solidly there for me all my life. He had the right ideas and the rough wit I respected. He came from the same hard origins, knew more and knew how to tell it. I could always count on him. Funny, smart, opinionated as are we all - and often right.
Damn, I'm going to miss him.
John Hertz - from Vanamonde No. 761, December 26, 2007
As a boy Hank Reinhardt (1934-2007) began a tradition of lying under the Christmas tree reading Planet Comics. By 1950 he had co-founded the Cosmic Legion, later known as ASFO, the Atlanta Science Fiction Organization, in the town where he was born. By 1959 he was all but unknown in fandom; he told Jerry Page he’d gone off stirring up trouble, looking for the sort of adventures he’d read about; some of those years he served honorably in the U.S. Army; everyone saw he was outspoken, a few saw he was modest. Not all who wander are lost. He was given Southern Fandom’s Rebel Award in 1973. Besides the first s-f club in Atlanta, and the first in Birmingham, he co-founded the historical–weapons firm Museum Replicas, and started chapters of the Society for Creative Anachronism in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana. With Page, for DAW Books, he co-edited Heroic Fantasy (1979), which opened with Andre Norton and closed with Manly Wade Wellman. He wrote for Blade magazine and at the 2006 Blade Show in Atlanta won the Industry Achievement Award. He could throw axes thirteen yards; one, the Singing Axe, was made by a blacksmith friend, after a medieval technique, so the it rang when struck with metal, then sang as it flew; the name alluded to the Singing Sword of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant, an adventure comic he loved almost as much as Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon. He played Hearts with, or against, Lon Atkins. Greg Benford said he believed in our future and wanted to live there. Guy Lillian said he chose joy. He was five years married to Toni Weisskopf, his widow, to whom I wrote “Sans peur et sans reproche.” One Christmas he gave Page, framed, the last installment of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes: “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, old buddy. Let’s go exploring.” R.I.P.