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ROBERT HAWLEY

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Robert Hawley Robert Hawley, beloved husband and father, prodigious musician, and for years a community leader in Arlington Heights, died peacefully Wednesday, April 11, 2012, while under hospice care in Burbank, Calif. He was 93. Born in Chicago in 1918, he was a 1937 graduate of Steinmetz High School, where he was a standout varsity basketball player and musician. Days after his mid-winter graduation in the heart of the Great Depression, he secured a job in the mail room of Chicago's Harris Bank, beginning a 42-year career with the firm capped by his being named a full vice president of the bank. Throughout his teens and adulthood he played trumpet professionally with a number of dance orchestras and combos, principally the George Fanelli Orchestra. Enlisted in the Navy from 1941 to 1945, he was selected to play trumpet in Benny Goodman's Glenview Naval Air Station Orchestra, which was broadcast nationally through the war years. In 1944, Hawley was deployed on the battleship the USS West Virginia, restored after being destroyed at Pearl Harbor, and which played a crucial part in the U.S.'s ultimate victory in the Pacific -despite receiving a direct hit by a Japanese suicide bomber. In 1949, Hawley and his family moved from the city to Arlington Heights, then a sleepy commuter rail stop of 4500 residents. For nearly a decade, Arlington would become one of the fastest growing suburbs in the United States. Through the next three decades, Hawley became an active figure in the life of the town. He and his wife were co-founders of The Village Theater, an amateur company that produced three plays and a children's show annually. At its peak, the Village Theater enrolled 1700 paid subscribers. Hawley memorably played leading roles in the company's most successful productions, including "Harvey," "Mr. Roberts," "Teahouse of the August Moon," and "Inherit the Wind." The Hawleys were also longtime parishioners of the First Presbyterian Church, where Robert served as a deacon guiding the parishes' finances while his wife, Kathleen, directed the Christian education program for children. In 1976, Mr. Hawley left Arlington to help direct the San Francisco investments branch of the Harris Bank, from which he retired in 1980. In 2002, The Hawleys relocated to a residential facility for seniors, The Belmont Village, in Burbank, Calif. Remembered warmly for his infectious energy, high humor, and eagerness to help out and to entertain, Mr. Hawley is survived by his wife of 70 years, Kathleen; a son, Richard Hawley of Ripton, Vt.; a daughter, Virginia McSwain of Glendale, Calif.; five granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren.

Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on Apr. 29, 2012
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