June 24, 2005

Cancer research champion Waddell Hancock dies at 90

Featured Image

Mrs. A.B. Hancock was all smiles with the “Gold Bowl” after one of her horses won the fifth running of the Raven Run at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., in 2003.
photo by Mark Cornelison, Lexington Herald-Leader

Cancer research champion Waddell Hancock dies at 90

Waddell Walker Hancock, widow of A.B. "Bull" Hancock Jr. and founder of the A.B. Hancock Jr. Research Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, died June 17 at her home in Paris, Ky. She was 90.

Mrs. Hancock married into the legacy of A.B. Hancock Jr., a third-generation breeder of thoroughbred horses at Claiborne Farm in Bourbon County, Ky. Long recognized for its success, Claiborne Farm boasts several Kentucky Derby winners.

Mrs. Hancock was known for her entertaining at Claiborne Farm, having hosted such guests as Queen Elizabeth II and Helen Hayes. She was described as outspoken and charming, a woman who spoke her mind and was a delight to join in conversation.

She was a Vanderbilt alumnus, and founded the A.B. Hancock Jr. Research Center in 1972 in honor of her husband, who died of cancer.

The center was the first named laboratory dedicated to cancer research until the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center was developed in 1993, making the Hancock Laboratory “the seed from which the Cancer Center eventually grew,” says Larry Marnett, Ph.D., Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research and director of the Hancock Laboratory.

“Mrs. Hancock was very dedicated to Vanderbilt and to the fight against cancer,” says Marnett. He adds that in addition to establishing the Laboratory, Mrs. Hancock served on the Board of Overseers for Vanderbilt-Ingram, helping to make many important fund-raising contacts.

The Hancock Laboratory is dedicated to the prevention and early detection of cancer. The current focus of the Laboratory is on prevention of colon cancer using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and COX-2 inhibitors and on the development of novel cancer preventive or therapeutic agents.

Mrs. Hancock is survived by sons Arthur Boyd Hancock III and Seth Walker Hancock, daughters Nancy Clay Hancock and Waddell Walker Hancock and eight grandchildren.

Services were held Monday at Paris Cemetery, in Paris, Ky. Memorial donations may be sent to the A.B. Hancock Laboratory for Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University, 2525 West End Ave., Suite 450, Nashville, Tenn., 37203.