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Richard Alvin Hawkes

December 20, 1913 October 26, 2016
Richard Alvin Hawkes
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Obituary for Richard Alvin Hawkes
On October 26, 2016, at McGuire Veteran’s Hospital, the Lord called from labor to reward our beloved Richard Alvin Hawkes. He was known to most as Alvin and was born on December 20, 1913. He was the ninth child of Mack and Margaret Hawkes. His father was a sharecropper and his mother was a midwife. He had six brothers, Eddie, Dolphus, Travis, Vern, Clifton and William and two sisters, Augusta and Bertha all of whom preceded him in death.

Alvin grew up in a loving, but well-disciplined home, where he did chores like other children his age. Because his mother, Margaret was often away from home staying with some family who was preparing for a new arrival, he learned to cook for his father and grandfather, Branch Hawkes, who lived with the family for a short time.

Alvin attended Spainville School, but spent his 5th grade year attending school in Richmond where he temporarily resided with his older brother, Vern, who with his wife, Edmonia, were expecting their first child. Because of Vern’s work schedule, he lived with them so that Edmonia would not be home alone during her pregnancy.

Alvin returned to Blackstone at the end of that school year and resumed classes at Spainville School. Many fondly remember him riding to and from school on the family’s horse, Goldfoot. It was at school that he met the love of his life, Laura Lee Hawkes. They married on July 7, 1937. From this happy and loving union, they had one daughter, Verna Lee Hawkes Rhoades, whom they loved and nurtured throughout her life and she in return reciprocated that love and nurture a thousand times over.

Alvin entered the United States Army and served in the 811th Engineering Battalion from 1941-1945. He is a World War II veteran and served his country mainly in the islands of the South Pacific. He was honorably discharged in late 1945.

Alvin worked for a short period as a driver for Simonton Brothers Lumber Company, as a warehouseman at Camp Pickett, and at Richfood in Richmond. In 1958 he was employed by the United States Postal Service and retired from government service in January 1981. He was punctual and dutiful in his work, because he honored the postal motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. After retirement, he and Laura shared gardening as a hobby and enjoyed sharing their fruitful harvest with family and friends.

Alvin joined Cedar Hill Baptist Church in 1926 at the age of 13. He was founder of the choir in 1948 and served as its first president. He also served as sexton for a number of years and remained a dedicated and faithful member until his death. He was a member of the Blackstone Community Chorus and had been since its origin in 1971. Although he no longer sang, he remained an avid supporter.

Alvin and Laura moved from their Spainville home into an apartment added to Verna’s house in March 2006 because of her declining health. He happily resided there until his death.

Alvin and Laura were honored by the Greater Petersburg Chapter of the Virginia State Alumni Association with its second annual Solomon’s Wisdom Award. The recipients of this award are those parents who provided a VSC education for their children even though they did not receive a degree themselves. He was inducted into the Veteran’s Ministry of Fifth Baptist Church, Richmond, as a life member in December 2014.

Alvin celebrated his 100th Birthday with a Gala that was both entertaining and befittingly appropriate for the occasion on December 20, 2013. There was a massive outpouring of love shown as family and friends from Texas, Kentucky, Maryland and many parts of Virginia came to celebrate with him. This included some of his former postal co-workers from the Richmond area. Letters of congratulations and resolutions were received from the Mayor of Blackstone, Nottoway County Board of Supervisors, State Senator, NBC’s Today Show with Willard Scott, and President & Mrs. Barack Obama.

Alvin is survived by his dearly beloved and steadfast daughter, Verna Rhoades; one supportive brother-in-law, Joe Hawkes, three nieces, Joanne Wilson (Samuel), Vine Grove, Kentucky; Margaret Brown (Carlton), Richmond; and Augusta Mae Tuck, Cleveland, Ohio; one nephew, Harry D. Hawkes (Carla), Petersburg; a great niece who lived with his family for several years, Roslyn Davis, Baltimore; and Roslyn’s two siblings, Christine and George, Baltimore; who also lived with his family briefly; and a host of other nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, great-great nieces and nephews, great-great-great nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.

Alvin had an extended family: C.L. and Jean Hobbs were just like his children who were always there for him, night or day; Ruth Williams was considered not only his caregiver, but a second daughter whom she referred to as “Dad”; Dennis Hawkes, Kermit Hawkes and C. Randolph Worsham whom he loved and enjoyed their company.

Alvin was generally thought of as a quiet man of few words, but believed in the Golden Rule. In his words, “Treat others as you want to be treated and do it with love”.

Funeral Services will be held Monday, October 31, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Cedar Hill Baptist Church, Blackstone with interment in the church cemetery.

W.E. Hawkes & Son Funeral Home of Blackstone in charge of arrangements.
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