James Wendell Hawkins
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Age 85, passed away on Monday, March 3, 2014 following a battle with cancer.
A Memorial service in celebration of his life and faith will be held on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 2 p.m., in the First United Methodist Church in Gallatin, with Dr. Charles Moffatt and Rev. Dr. Ted Hill officiating, and music led by James Story. Visitation with the Hawkins family will be in the sanctuary of the church from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m.
James Wendell Hawkins was born on December 25, 1928 in Atlanta, GA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Charles Johnson Hawkins and Ethel Freeman Hawkins Timmons. Mr. Hawkins was also preceded in death by his loving spouse of 57 years, Betty Frost Langston Hawkins.
As the son of a Methodist minister, Mr. Hawkins grew up in numerous church assignments in Tennessee and Virginia. He entered the US Army at age 17, serving under Gen. Douglas MacArthur as a medic's assistant in the occupation of Japan following World War II. He later graduated from Duke University and began his 40-year career with Southern Bell and South Central Bell. As a regulatory specialist, he helped eliminate rural "party lines" for safety and privacy, and wrote the regulations that led to the development and funding of the 911 system in Tennessee counties.
He is survived by his four sons and their spouses and children: Jim and Betsy Hawkins of Gallatin, and children, Rachel, Jimmy and Caryn; Bob and Cheryl Hawkins of Madison, AL, and children, Wesley and his wife Kelly, Meredith, Chris and Josh; U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Chuck and Kathy Hawkins of Staunton, VA, and children, Masha and her husband Roland Jones, Kristina, and Dasha and her son Daniel; Drs. Andy and Diane Hawkins of Abingdon, VA, and children, Jordan and Caroline; his sister, Carlene Hawkins Wooden and her husband Gene of Huntsville, AL; and his all-but-adopted son, Raj Sivananthan of Phoenix, AZ.
During his past 52 years of residence in Gallatin, Mr. Hawkins spent much of his life in support of public education. He was elected to serve seven terms totaling 28 years on the Sumner County Board of Education, and was on the committee that proposed the idea of a community college in Gallatin, resulting in Volunteer State Community College. He was appointed by Governor Winfield Dunn to the state board of education, and was elected vice president of the National Association of State Boards of Education. In 1991, the Tennessee School Board Association honored him as the Tennessee school board member of the year. The Sumner County Board of Education honored his years of vision and leadership by naming the James W. Hawkins Education Building. Mr. Hawkins was a life-long member of the Methodist Church, actively worshiping and serving at the Gallatin First United Methodist Church. He served in lay leadership roles, taught Sunday school, and participated in mission trips. He and his wife Betty were active volunteers at Sumner Regional Medical Center, United Way of Sumner County, the Good Neighbor Mission, Gallatin CARES, Meals on Wheels, and Nashville Public Radio. Mr. Hawkins earned his EMT certification and was a founding member of the Sumner County Volunteer Ambulance Service, which helped lead to the formation of the Sumner County EMS. Mr. Hawkins was a longtime member of the Gallatin Noon Rotary Club. He was a bridge player, a genealogist, and a supporter of local and regional historical societies. He was a 32° KCCH Scottish Rite Mason, and a member of the American Legion. The United Way of Sumner County annually bestows the "James W. Hawkins Award" for 100 percent employee participation in company campaigns.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the First United Methodist Church Missions Fund, 149 West Main Street, Gallatin, TN 37066; or to the United Way of Sumner County, 1531 Hunt Club Blvd., Gallatin, TN 37066; or to a non-profit charitable organization of your choice.
Online condolences may be submitted at familyheritagefh.com. Family Heritage Funeral Home in charge of arrangements, (615) 452-7115.
Family Heritage Funeral Home
100 Albert Gallatin Avenue
Gallatin, TN 37066
Published in The Tennessean on Mar. 5, 2014