John Louis Hawkins
John Louis Hawkins passed away suddenly on Dec. 31, 2018 in Graham. He had just turned 78 years old.
John was born in Tribby, Okla. on Dec. 29, 1940. He was born at home, birthed by a Native American midwife. The area was so rural, no birth certificate was issued. He didn’t receive a birth certificate until he was ready to join the Army.
John grew up in McComb, Okla. Throughout school, he was a star athlete. He was named an all state baseball catcher, and played on a true state champion team – which means every qualifying team in the state of Oklahoma played each other, without being sorted by class or school size. John was also named his senior class president.
He served in the Army from 1960 until 1963. He spoke often of his time being stationed in Hawaii.
After his discharge, John landed in Mangum, Okla., working as a seismographer for a surveying company. That’s where he met his beautiful bride, Shirley Mae Graham at the Tastee Freez in June of 1964. They married four months later on Oct. 31. So excited to elope, the two didn’t realize it was Halloween day.
John and Shirley eventually settled in Graham, as owners of Lakeview Bait and Tackle shop, with sons Michael, Danny and J.J. in tow.
John worked for American Security, American National Insurance, owned several businesses and labored in the oil field before jumping into politics.
His political career had some unusual turns, including tying in not one, but two elections. He was eventually elected Young County Commissioner and served three terms. During that time, he dedicatedly upheld the law, ensuring fair treatment and rights for everyone, even when his personal views may have been dissimilar.
Upon retirement, John and Shirley traveled across the United States. When her health declined, John cared for Shirley, unwavering in his support and love for her. He loved her until the day she died, and until the day he died also. Their love story is one for the ages.
John was preceded in death by his father, Daniel Hawkins; his mother, Ruby Adaline Burleson Hawkins; his sister, Penelope Lavon; his brother, Joseph Daniel; his sister, Nellie Lee; his brother, Charles Calvin; his sister, Molly Susan; and his beautiful wife, Shirley Mae Hawkins.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Michael and Susan Hawkins of Deming, N.M.; son and daughter-in-law Daniel and Dana Hawkins of Port Aransas; son and daughter-in-law J. and Erin Hawkins of Corpus Christi; his sisters, Ruby Sherman and Jeannie Riley of Oklahoma; and his in-laws, Chuck Graham, Billie Stacy, Bonnell Mixon and Earl Mixon, all of Graham.
He has eight grandchildren, five great grandchildren and too many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends to count.
Visitation will be held on Friday, Jan. 4 from 6-8 p.m. at McMillan-Satterwhite Funeral Home in Graham. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 Oak Street Baptist Church in Graham.
Whether you knew him as John, Johnny, Uncle Johnny, Commissioner or Papa, he was larger than life. He loved all babies and children, and giving biter rabbits, jumping spiders and bite of sides. John was always good for a story or joke. He loved his family deeply.
It is hard to believe he is gone, because he had several accidents and ailments – including rheumatic fever and a severed thumb – that would have kept many a man down.
John is at peace, he is with Shirley and he will be immensely missed.