Benjamin Morris Hawkins died October 9, 2018 of non-small cell lung cancer at Reid Health Care.
“Let me draw you a picture…” of who our Dad was. When he wanted to get a point across, he often grabbed a pencil and paper and drew a picture.
Dad was the seventh child of Oscar and Florence (Mills) Hawkins. Brothers and sisters who remain to treasure their memories of our Dad are Joe (Becky) Hawkins, Dave (Shelly) Hawkins, Elizabeth (Suzy) Bond, Helen (Tom) Vickroy, and sisters-in-law Carol Polver, Wanda Hawkins, Dee Hawkins, and Delores Hawkins. Family members who have gone before Dad include his parents, brothers Billy, Sam, Elmer, Don (Connie), Dick, and Jack. Also, Renee (Anderson) Hawkins, Dad’s wife who died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2004, after sharing eleven years of happiness living on the farm near Bethel.
Dad attended Centerville school system for eleven and a half years until his family moved into the Fountain City area, and he graduated from Fountain City in 1956. While in high school, he excelled at track and field, cross country and other sports.
Dad was a supportive father to Vikki (Mike) Johnson, Laura (Richard) Behney, and Anne (Perry) Gentry, loving grandfather to Ryan (Ana), Evan, Nick, Adam, Riley, Madison and Mallory, and doting great-grandfather to his namesake, Ben, and Elena, all of whom will miss his ornery smile, hand-drawn pictures and quick-witted stories.
Like several of his brothers, Dad worked at Perfect Circle/ Dana, both in the ring and the camshaft plants in Richmond. He worked there for over 30 years and loved the camaraderie he found with others there. Dad retired in 1988 and had a limo drive home on that day.
Our Dad was kind of the lynch pin in his family. It was not uncommon to have one of his siblings call to get his help. He helped them with engine repairs, fixing stuff around their homes or running errands with them. When people called, our Dad helped, or at least had a nice visit with them. Many hours were spent with his siblings, playing cards, telling stories or just being together. Their mutual affection was genuine.
Dad was an excellent show pigeon fancier, winning many ribbons and trophies at local and regional contests, taking the top prize at the Indiana State Fair many years. He had raised show homers and “rollers” from an early age and he enjoyed mating birds from other fanciers who had nationally known birds. This gave Dad an elite lineage of birds which he proudly showed and furthered his renown in the pigeon world. His friend, Bill Pearson, will continue this legacy in honor of our Dad.
When the CB radio craze was just beginning, Dad was one of those who jumped on. He made several friends, getting to know them by their handles first and then, when possible, meeting them face to face. His handle was Pigeon Man, of course. He often would wait until late at night to turn on his high-powered linear beams and try to reach foreign lands. “Skip land! Skip land” was the call which set many an antennae TV scrambling.
Dad was not musical, but he did appreciate it in others. When his friend Sparky asked him to go with him to the Hole in the Wall, dad eagerly went. There he heard country music which not only spoke to his heart but gave him great joy. Some of Dad’s favorite country singers were Marty Robbins, Alan Jackson and Johnny Cash. The Hole in the Wall Gang was right up there with the best of them.
Dad loved to fish whether it was off the bank of a local pond or out in the ocean off the coast of Guatemala. That particular deep-sea trek was a highlight of his life, and the exuberance his face showed as he pulled several sailfish aboard for a quick photo was so easy to see. He looked forward to launching his bass boat out into local waterways with one or two of his brothers and seeing who could catch the big one.
In memory of our Dad, because he loved high school basketball so much, and in lieu of flowers and gifts, please consider making a gift to the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle, Indiana or the Milan ’54 Museum in memory of Ben Hawkins, avid fan. We also ask that you wear cream and/or crimson to the visitation and funeral because our Dad was a huge Indiana University basketball team fan for many years.
Daddy, we love you and miss you,
Vikki, Laura and Anne
Join us for a celebration of Dad’s life at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, at the Smith-McQuiston & Webster Funeral Home, 321 US 27, Fountain City. Afterward, we’ll take him to his final place of well-deserved rest in Goshen Cemetery.
We’ll be at the funeral home from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, if you’d like to stop by and visit. If you can’t make it, please leave us a favorite story about Dad in an online condolence on this page .