Francis Austin Hawke

Loving husband, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, was welcomed into God's arms on October 30, 2012. At the time of his death, he was surrounded by loving family and cherished care givers. Francis was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Stephanie Gomola Hawke.

Francis is survived by his five daughters and their husbands: Patricia Andrews, Cynthia and John Truax, Sheila and Brian Holleger, Dr. Wendy and Richard Lenz, Valarie and Dennis Brown, and his former son-in-law, Fred Englert; as well as his grandchildren, Lt. Col. Frank Andrews and wife Elaine, Dr. Michelle Thompson and husband Greg, Eddie Andrews, Valarie Truax, Shannon Santos and her husband Rick, Laura Holleger and her fiancé Justin Young, Eric Englert, Kristen Englert, Claire Lenz, Laura Lenz, Blake Brown, Erin Brown, and Austin Brown; and great-grandchildren Gregory, Jessica, Melissa, Michael, Kimberly, Jose, Giovany, Kendall, Kara, and niece Marianne Warrington Sylvester. Francis also regarded as family his close friends Alfred J. and Nellie Dougherty, Sr., and Dean C. and Peg Belt.

Francis was born in Linwood, Pennsylvania, to William and Sallie Mae (Still) Hawke on April 25, 1924. He acquired a love of farming at an early age when his family moved to Townsend, Delaware. During WWII, after graduating from the U.S. Army Air Forces Technical School in Lincoln, Nebraska, he was stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii. After his tour of duty, he worked in Brooklyn, New York, where he married Stephanie and started his family. In 1953 he returned to Delaware where he established a successful agricultural enterprise, Oval Lawn Farms, near Smyrna. He operated a dairy farm for many years before changing to an all grain operation in 1964. In addition to farming, Francis worked at Dover Air Force Base keeping the C-124 and C-5A workhorses of the Air Force in top form. He earned the Diamond Award for 30 years of dedicated service. He retired from civil service in 1983. While at the base, Francis and Stephanie hosted many young GIs at holiday dinners on the farm.

Francis would like to be remembered as a hardworking man who was devoted to his wife, cherished his family, was loyal to his friends, and served his country well. He said he was most proud that all of his five daughters earned college degrees. He prided himself as a just man with a deep love for Jesus.

The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to Mr. Hawke's personal physician, Dr. Michael Sweeney, the members of the Christiana Care Therapy program, his personal care givers during his stay at home, and Dr. Kettleman and all the devoted staff at the Delaware Veterans Home, who filled his final years with dignity, comfort and respect.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, November 4 at noon at the Matthews-Bryson Funeral Home, 123 West Commerce Street, Smyrna, DE. Interment will be immediately following at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Smyrna.

Memorial contributions may be made in Francis Hawke's name to The Francis and Stephanie Hawke Educational Scholarship, c/o Debbie Wicks, Superintendent, 101 Locust Street, Smyrna, DE 19977. Given annually in Francis and Stephanie's honor, this scholarship is awarded to a Smyrna High School senior girl intending to study medicine or education.

To send a condolence, please visit

Funeral Home

Matthews-Bryson Funeral Home and Cremation Services
123 West Commerce Street Smyrna, DE 19977
(302) 653-2900

Published in The News Journal on Nov. 2, 2012