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Richard "Dick" Hawkins '60 July 29, 2019 1:44 PM updated: July 29, 2019 1:47 PM

Published in The Aiken (SC) Standard and North Augusta Star on July 28, 2019

Richard Horace Hawkins(1922 - 2019)
Dick Hawkins
AIKEN - Richard Horace Hawkins was born on November 6, 1922 in Columbia, Missouri. Dick Hawkins to his friends, he was the son of Shannon Hawkins and Roxie Pearl Fenton. He spent many of his early years shooting pigeons and squirrels on the in-town campus of Stephens College with an air rifle and even a .22. As a child he was often with his cousins, way out in the country, about 8 miles from Columbia. They swam and fished in creeks and hunted rabbits and squirrels, which made many delicious Depression-era suppers. He graduated from Hickman High School in 1939 and then attended Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dick enlisted in the US Army Air Corps as a Lieutenant. The Air Corps became the US Army Air Forces during the course of the war. Cotton Woods taught him to fly in Columbia, Missouri in a Boeing Stearman biplane. He then was stationed in Southern California for advanced flight training. Then did assembly line maintenance on B-25 bombers in Texas. His task was to adjust or repair right engine cowl flaps. Later in the war, he was trained as a flight engineer on a B-29 which was the spaceship of that era. The B-29 planes were based in Albany, Georgia. Fortunately for him, he was never shipped overseas so he saw no combat.
Following World War II, Dick spent his second summer at Yellowstone Park as a Park Ranger. While there, he delighted in fly fishing for trout all over the back country. Back in Columbia, Missouri, he returned to college and received his bachelor's degree in Agronomy from the University of Missouri a few years later. After that, he moved to South Carolina where he earned his Master's Degree from Clemson University. With two degrees in hand, he took a job at the Sandhill Experiment Station in Pontiac, just outside of Columbia, South Carolina.
About 1952, Dick met Jane Priester at the Baptist Student Union while she was attending Columbia College in Columbia, S.C. Since he had a nearly new 1951 Plymouth and a nice boat and water skis, they began dating and eventually married. Little did she know that twenty-five years later they would still be driving the same car.
In about 1955, Dick, his wife, Jane, and one year old son, Ricky, moved to College Station, Texas where daughter, Debra, was born in Bryan in 1956. At Texas A&M University, he earned his PhD in soil mineralogy. After Jane typed his dissertation, he graduated and was hired by the DuPont Company in 1960 as a research chemist at the Savannah Plant in Aiken, SC. The family moved to Aiken in the summer of 1960.
In Aiken, Dick joined the Civil Air Patrol where he flew searches and trained cadets. He and Ricky and Debra often flew with him in the CAP Piper Super Cub N278T. He did a lot of shooting at the Rifle Range as well as charity fund raising with the gun club at the annual School Halloween Carnival. For years at the Carnival, he helped run a shooting gallery using real Colt 1911 .45 caliber automatics, shooting wax bullets powered only by primers. He hunted and fished. He taught Sunday School and enjoyed First Baptist Church. Summers brought water skiing and sailing on Clark Hill.
With Jane and children, Debra and Ricky, the family made driving trips to California, Washington State, Arizona, Oklahoma as well as trips to northern Ontario and Quebec in Canada. The trips were often combined with a business meeting and usually included visits to national parks and interesting sights along the highways. They camped at scenic destinations but often stayed in motels en route. In Canada, all of the family enjoyed catching large northern pike as well as camping with the mosquitos.
About 1965 Dick bought a 1953 Cessna 170B, N1838C. In that plane, the family took many Easter flights to the Florida keys and other flights to Columbia, Missouri as well as out west. The family even made a fishing trip to Western Ontario, Canada. The most exciting trip was a flight from Aiken to Mexico City. They toured Mexico City and stayed with the Wycliffe Bible Translators, an organization Dick loved and supported. He retired from SRP about 1989 and then spent most of his time flight instructing primary students. He gave all of his proceeds from the flight instructing to the Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Throughout his life, Dick had a passion for all things bicycle. He loved riding and repairing bicycles and kept a stable of them. He taught both Ricky and Debra the mechanics of bike repair as well as maintenance.
Around the time of his retirement, he and Jane made a long dreamed about drive to Alaska in a lime green Volkswagen camper.
Jane died in 1997 and he lived alone for the next 22 years. He taught flying until failing eyesight forced him to discontinue it a few years ago.
For the last 30 years or so, Dick attended supper meetings of the Trenton Flyers, a loose group of pilots, based at the Edgefield County Airport, a grass strip at Trenton, SC which was one of his favorite airfields. He attended his last Trenton Flyers covered dish supper in June.
Dick was proud that he lived independently all of his life. He died July 22, 2019 after a two week illness in Aiken, where he lived since 1960. It was probably the longest time that he was sick in his entire life.
He is survived by his daughter, Debra Titus of Dayton, Ohio and his son, Rick Hawkins, of Tybee Island, Georgia as well as four grandchildren, Shannon Titus Dieringer and Lindsey Titus Levy, India Zerelda Hawkins Chuiko and Brian Titus. There are also three great grandchildren Titus, Wyatt and Zeke Dieringer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Wycliffe Bible Translators or a charity of your choice. There will be a memorial service at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at First Baptist Church.


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