RANTOUL – George William "Bill" Hawkins passed away on Tuesday (Sept. 3, 2013) with his loving family by his side.
Born on May 8, 1928, and raised in Danville, he was a son of Ralph J. and Leona (Warner) Hawkins. They preceded him in death as well as a brother, Robert "Bob" Hawkins.
Bill earned his first pilot's license at the age of 15. At 17, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he sailed around the world aboard a "sub tender," the USS Holland (supplying ammunition to submarines) during the end of World War II.
After completing his tour of duty in the Navy, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (which was later changed to the U.S. Air Force) where he served for 14 years, attaining the rank of sergeant major. He flew many sorties in the B36 and B52 bombers during the Korean Conflict, and afterward flew into 32 countries.
After his military career, he became an organic chemist for the American Colloid Company in Lovell, Wyo. In Lafayette, Ind., he worked at the VA as a boiler engineer.
He retired from Interstate Printers & Publishers, Danville, where he was maintenance supervisor for 17 years.
He is survived by his wife, Rose Lynn Harrier Hawkins. They were married in 1987 at Lake Mattoon, where they lived for several years. They later moved to Rantoul to be closer to family.
Also surviving are daughters, Debra (Jeff) Dalle, Tamara (Jeff) Chowning, Christina (Don) Dow; stepdaughter, Tara (Jeff) Clem; his sisters, Betty King and Rosemary "Rosie" (Don) Edwards; brother, Larry (Margaret) Hawkins; sister-in-law, Reta (John) Osmond; 11 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.
Mr. Hawkins was a member of the Rantoul Christian Church, YMCA Bible Study, American Legion, Lions Club, former member of the Elks, Kiwanis, Masons and VFW.
He loved to travel, hunt, fish, play golf, cards/dominoes with Rosie and Poke, mow grass on his riding mower and watch old Western movies.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Rantoul Christian Church, 3105 County Road 1700 E, Rantoul. The Rev. Wesley Miller will officiate.
Condolences may be offered online at www.owensfuneralhomes.com.