Former Cobb County Manager David Hankerson dies at 77

Headshot of former Cobb County Manager David Hankerson

David Hankerson photo courtesy of Cobb County government

Cobb County government announced in a news release that former County Manager David Hankerson died today after a long illness.

Hankerson was appointed Cobb County manager on February 1, 1993, after serving as community development manager since 1984. He left the

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published on his departure from his position as county manager in June of 2017 stated that Hankerson grew up working on his father’s farm in Waynesboro, Georgia. His accomplishments as county manager listed in the article include shepherding through the construction of the East West Connector.

County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris said for the news release that Hankerson brought her to Cobb County in 2013.  

“But for Mr. Hankerson, I would not be where I am today,” Dr. McMorris said.  “I believe the core values he has instilled in Cobb still resonate to this day, which include integrity, honesty, work hard, show up, and be ready when you show up. He was a giant in Cobb, and his legacy will live on in all of us.”

Chairwoman Lisa Cupid said in the news release that Hankerson provided needed guidance when she became a district commissioner.

“David was a giant in our county and unmatched in his leadership and service to commissioners, employees, and civic and business leaders,” Chairwoman Cupid said.  “I could not have accomplished all I did as a District Commissioner without his support. My prayers go out to David’s family and the Cobb Community during this very difficult time.”

Mike Terry was chairman of the Cobb County Planning Commission during a particularly eventful time for Hankerson’s tenure, particularly the zoning decisions around what became Truist Park and The Atlanta Battery.

Terry sent the following statement about Hankerson in an email to the Courier:

Before every public hearing. the Cobb Planning Commission always met with department heads and a few other invited guests. No zoning decisions were made there (not ever), but the facts of every case were disclosed. Occasionally Mr. Hankerson would drop in…unannounced. He never participated and didn’t stay long, but would always thank everyone in attendance for their hard work and devotion to the county. “And let me know if I can ever help.” David Hankerson was a good man and Cobb County flourished under his leadership. I am grateful for his friendship and guidance.


Hankerson was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Fort Valley State College.

He received a Juris Doctorate from the Woodrow Wilson College of Law.

He served in the U.S. Army in Seoul, Korea, from 1967 to 1970 in the Signal Corps.

On returning to Georgia, he was a district conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service.

The county news release contained the following long list of his activities and accomplishments:

Hankerson was a Leadership Cobb Alumnus, a graduate of the Regional Leadership Institute, a member of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia General Government and Natural Resources and Environmental Policy Committees, a graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership Class, National Security Forum Alumni and a member of the Marietta Kiwanis Club. 

He served on numerous civic and professional boards. In 2006, Governor Perdue appointed him to the Environmental Advisory Council. In 2008, he became a member of the ICMA Client Advisory Forum, and in 2009, he was invited to serve on The Walker School Board of Directors and The Strand Board of Directors. 

He received numerous awards, including one of five distinguished Georgians to receive an Excellence in Public Service Award for 2004, and in 2005, the Blacks United for Youth/Cobb presented him with the Justice Robert Benham Award for outstanding leadership, service, and total commitment for the equality of all citizens. In 2008, the Senior Citizen Council of Cobb County presented Hankerson with the Community Leader of the Year award. In May 2009, he received the Delta Upsilon Boule Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Founder’s Day Excellence in Government Award. 

In July 2009, the Board of Commissioners named the Safety Village Education Building in his honor. 2010 awards include the Marietta Daily Journal Citizen of the Year, 100 Black Men of North Metro Image Award, and the Cobb NAACP Hugh Grogan Political Action Award.