John F. "Jack" Hawkins was born December 4, 1931, in Hamlin, Texas to Mary Mabel (Proctor) and John T. Hawkins. He died January 4, 2014, in a local facility. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Robert Hawkins. He is survived by his wife Deanna Hawkins, daughter and son-in-law Rosemary and Keith Kaholokula, granddaughters Kaimi Kaholokula and Mahina Kaholokula, sister-in-law Carol Hawkins, and nieces Alisha Conkling and Laura Hawkins. The family wishes to acknowledge the loving care he received from Silverado Memory Care and Whatcom Hospice. John was a Korean War vet who held a B.A. in physics from the University of Texas and did post-graduate work in math. He was a special man with special gifts. His acute intelligence and ability to focus were a marvel. John was very creative, finding new ways to solve problems in scientific programming; he could make a computer sing and dance. He worked abstruse math problems for fun and solved the world's thorniest crossword puzzles. He lived most fully in his mind which reveled in complex challenges. But he loved poetry too. What woman could resist a man who quoted W.H. Auden: "The years shall run like rabbits while in my arms I hold the flower of the ages and the first love of the world." With poetry and a yen for adventure he wooed and won his wife. Together they traveled and worked in the USA, Bermuda and at the Kwajalein Missile Range and raised a wonderful daughter, who with her husband, is passing on the love of adventure to their daughters. John, who worked for RCA and then GE, took his family to "Kwaj" three times for a total of 12 years from 1973 to 1993. Each weekday he flew a 100-mile round trip from Kwaj to Roi Namur to work at TRADEX, a sophisticated instrumentation and tracking radar. He made many friends at TRADEX , friends he continued to treasure all his life. These friends knew him as "Jack." He loved his family and we delighted in his company. With humor and patience, he helped his granddaughters Kaimi and Mahina with their math homework, helping them to simplify thorny problems. He was the funniest man we ever knew, with a uniquely oblique view which gave rise to dry observations of human nature that were as striking as they were hilarious. His deadpan delivery fooled many people but his straight face did not deceive his family and friends, who treasured his dry wit. He was a quiet man who loved a dark beer and a good smoke. But most of all he was a gentle man, in every sense of the word. He was a wonderful friend, husband, father and grandfather. We shall not see his like again. But as long as we live we shall treasure the many precious memories of his presence in our lives. From one of John's favorite poems comes these lines: "We thank with brief thanksgiving Whatever gods may be That no life lives forever; That dead men rise up never; That even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea." Rest in peace, beloved man.
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Published in Bellingham Herald on Jan. 12, 2014