October 17, 1921 - June 3, 2013
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A world traveler. A devoted friend, father, and grandfather. An exceptional athlete. A dedicated employee. An advocate of the natural environment. His family, friends, and colleagues will dearly miss Ira James Hawkins. With a voracious appetite for learning and a zest for life, Ira continuously pursued intellectual inquiry and never stopped writing, traveling, or working. Upon advice received as a young man, Ira believed that traveling and taking part in the many exquisite cultures of our human family made for a priceless education. A student of the world, he traveled to 94 countries soaking up the rich details, languages, and traditions of countless cultures. Ira lived the culture he was visiting. From a home stay in a Mongolian yurt to unforgettable memories with an ancient nomadic tribe in the Sahara Desert-Ira took delight in the world, and forged deep friendships along the way. An avid writer, Ira's unique and exquisite penmanship and commitment to written communication with friends, family, and elected officials was truly remarkable. A gifted athlete, the All Southern California Board of Baseball awarded Ira all-league honors in 1939 for the talent he demonstrated at Thomas Jefferson High School. Ira then played baseball at UCLA receiving all-conference honors in 1941. The California Daily Bruin noted, "Ira Hawkins, dependable shortstop on Art Reichele's Bruin nine team was the only local player to make the All-Conference Team selected by the Daily Bruin sportswriters. Hawkins earned the nod over such stars as Ray Tran of St. Mary's and Merrill Combs of Southern California, because of his superior hitting". The newspaper also mentioned that Ira was, "one of the smoothest fielders imaginable". A loyal employee, Ira served the Los Angeles Dodgers and the fans of Dodger Stadium for 55 years. On Thursday June 6th, all in attendance at Dodger Stadium stood for a moment of silence to honor Ira's dedication and service to the Dodgers. From taking his children to see the many spectacular natural wonders of the country to seeking them out his entire life, Ira's respect and love for the natural environment was apparent in all aspects of his life. Ira is survived by his son Kennedy Ira Hawkins, J.D., and grandchildren Austin, Nicholas, and Grant; his daughter Irana W. Hawkins, Ph.D.; and his son Ira James Hawkins, III, B.F.A.
Ira's life was celebrated on Friday June 21, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at Pierce Brothers Crestlawn Memorial Park & Mortuary, 11500 Arlington Avenue, Riverside, CA 92505. He was interred with military honors at Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside, CA 92518. As desired, a contribution can be made in memory of Ira to one of his favorite environmental organizations, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society P.O. Box 2616, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 USA, Phone: 360-370-5650 www.seashepherd.org
Published in the Los Angeles Times on July 4, 2013