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Wilton A. Hawkins

1922 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Wilton A. Hawkins Obituary
Wilton A. Hawkins

Wilton A. Hawkins, 95, died June 27, 2018. He was born October 1, 1922 in a log cabin on a ridge overlooking the Kentucky River in the Gilberts Creek section of Anderson County, the son of Minnie Chilton Hawkins and William Arthur Hawkins.

Attending Lawrenceburg City High and graduating in 1941, he enrolled at the University of Kentucky in the College of Engineering. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, he enlisted in the army and served in both the European and Pacific theaters.

At the end of WW II he transferred his engineering studies from U.K. to the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). Quite active in campus life, he joined the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and was qualified to become a member of numerous technical and honorary societies. In his senior year, he was elected into the highly esteemed national honorary engineering society, Tau Beta Pi. He graduated in 1948 with a B.S.M.E. degree.

The Dupont Company employed him as a process and product development engineer, working with the then new plastic, Teflon. After six years, and visualizing a bright future for this material, he resigned from Dupont and started his own company in 1954, in Clifton, N.J.

Beginning in a small attic, he grew the company from one employee to 500, with four plants throughout the U.S.A. The company became a well-known leader in the Teflon industry, developing a wide range of Teflon-based products for the military, aero-space, and electronic industries. Some of his products went to the moon with our astronauts and currently are being used in the international space laboratory.

The company became public in 1978, and was listed on the American Stock Exchange. In 1982, his company was acquired by the Norton Company, a large manufacturing firm of a wide variety of industrial products. Hawkins remained active in a managerial R & D position until he retired in 1998.

Throughout the years, he received recognition for his accomplishments in business and for his philanthropic endeavors. His main contributions to his alma mater was recognized by being honored with the Andrew Carnegie Philanthropic Award. This was followed by a Carnegie Mellon Merit Award for his leadership in the field of plastics. The Dupont Company honored him with a Life Achievement Award for his contribution to the Fluoropolymer industry; and still later, Carnegie Mellon University awarded him with an honorary degree of Doctor of Science and Technology.

He was predeceased by his wife, Thelma D. (Teddy) Hawkins and his two sisters, Dorothy B. Houchin and Nellie M. Simpson. There are no direct descendants.

Survivors include a niece, Patricia Pantuja and husband, Richard; and a nephew, David Carter, and his wife Jeanette, residing in Santa Clara, CA and San Jose, CA.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 7, 2018 beginning at 11:00 AM at the Lawrenceburg United Methodist Church, 565 Carlton Dr., Lawrenceburg, KY 40342. Rev. Errol Archerson and Rev. Mark Gibbons will officiate the service. Burial of his cremains will be in the Lawrenceburg Cemetery.

Honorary bearers will be Dave Disponett, Bobby Shryock, Brent Hawkins, and David Carter.

In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that any memorial contributions be made to the Anderson County Scholarship Fund, 307 S. Main St., Lawrenceburg, KY 40342.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Ritchie & Peach Funeral Home, Lawrenceburg, KY.
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