The unexpected death of Hank Stanley sent shock waves through the people who worked with him at SEPTA.

"I saw grown men crying," said his daughter Almitra Tankersly. "It really hit everybody hard."

Almitra didn't know how popular her father was until she realized that Grace Chapel in Collingdale wasn't going to be big enough to hold the expected crowd of mourners.

She had to move the ceremony to the larger Pinn Memorial Baptist Church, at 54th Street and Wynnefield Avenue, Wynnefield.

Henry W. "Hank" Stanley, a 30-year employee of SEPTA as an electrical engineer maintainer, a man whose understanding nature could defuse any dispute and whose sense of humor kept everyone laughing, died May 11. He was 61 and lived in Wynnefield.

Hank had just retired from SEPTA in January, and the transit agency was planning to honor him on June 19.

He received a pacemaker a year and a half ago, about which he quipped, "This thing will outlive me." He entered the hospital May 10 and died the next day of septic shock.

Hank was born in Philadelphia, one of the 12 children of Louise and Norman Stanley. He graduated from Dobbins Technical High School and Peirce College.

He met his wife, Sandra L. Davis, while both were in high school, he at Dobbins and she at Simon Gratz. They were married in January 1975.

While at SEPTA, Hank worked at the 69th Street, Elmwood and Fern Rock terminals, making friends everywhere he went.

"He was good at making people connect," his daughter said. "He would talk to people having a dispute and help them get over it.

"He was the sweetest guy, very soft-spoken. He never raised his voice, and his sense of humor had everybody in stitches."

Hank loved to work on cars, and his pride and joy was a vintage Oldsmobile 442, a sleek, eight-cylinder muscle car, red with mag wheels.

"He was famous for that sports car," his daughter said. "It was his pride and joy."

Hank was a member of Transport Workers Union Local 234.

Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by three other daughters, Collene Wilson, Nicole Jackson and Leah Chilele; two sons, Henry W. Jr. and Ivan; two sisters, Pecolia Monk and Lorraine Stanley; two brothers, Kenneth and Kevin Stanley; and eight grandchildren.

Services: 11 a.m. Saturday at Pinn Memorial Baptist Church, 2251 N. 54th St. Friends may call at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in Merion Memorial Park, Bala Cynwyd.