Donald A. Hawkins, 98 of Midland, passed away on January 7, 2021, at the Independence Village Senior Living Community in Midland, MI. Don was born on Nov. 28, 1922, the youngest of 3 children, to Minnie (Patterson) and Albert Hawkins in Bay City. He attended Bay City schools but graduated from Saginaw High School in 1940. He leaves behind a legacy of gentleness, humor, integrity, generosity, faith, and kindness.
Don served his country during World War II, enlisting in 1942 after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the Signal Air Warning Battalion, which used a then-secret technology (radar) that, it was later learned, was vital to the war effort. He was stationed for three years in Europe, where he served in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. A proud patriot, Don participated in 2018 in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. The flights honor the service of the nation’s veterans.
After his honorable discharge in October 1945, he worked for Michigan Multigraph, then took a job in the printing department of the Dow Chemical Company and later spun off his own business, Hawkins Printing and Mailing. As a businessman, he was noted for his integrity, support of his employees, and community involvement. He was active in Midland Rotary (a three-time Paul Harris fellow honoree), the Midland Elks Club, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Legion, and Midland Food Bank. He was a devout member of the Memorial Presbyterian Church. He enjoyed playing golf, attending local cultural events, and, in an expression of his eternal optimism, rooting for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions.
Don married Ann Adams in 1945; they had four children and were content to enjoy the simple pleasures of raising a family. Don and Ann worked together to grow Don’s business. They were a team. Don recruited Ann to be an ardent Tigers fan and they enjoyed attending games with the whole family. Unfortunately, Ann passed away in 1971. But a wonderful second act awaited Don. He married JoAnn B. Shahin in 1977, merging two families.
JoAnn and Don enjoyed 43 years of travel together, journeying throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and South America. They retraced his World War II travels on two different trips to Europe. Many jaunts were for family gatherings. A significant portion of each winter was spent in Bradenton, FL, where Don had been stationed for his Army training.
Don and JoAnn were a cornerstone of the Midland Big Boy breakfast clientele, where they visited with longtime friends while Don ate his regular order of blueberry pancakes. Don was beloved by all who knew him. He was a gentle soul with an equally gentle, if mischievous, sense of humor. When asked his preference for dinner after moving into Independence Village, which, like most senior living communities, has a set menu, Don replied, “I believe I’ll have the lobster.” His optimistic spirit encouraged others even as he went through difficult times. After a hospital nurse who was drawing blood twice missed a vein, he said, “Two foul balls. Let’s see if the next pitch can be a home run.”
He is survived by his wife JoAnn Hawkins, daughters Cathy (Bob) Watkins, Debbie (Ken) Arthur, and son Don (Frances) Hawkins II, along with two grandchildren, Kendal (Bobbi) and Daniel (Kelly) Arthur, and three great-grandchildren, Alexis, Madi, and Levi Arthur. He is also survived by step-sons Jim (Jessica) Shahin and Ric (Martha) Shahin, step-daughter Cindy (Jim) Rhinehart, and step-grandchildren Sam Shahin, Peter Shahin, Nicholas Shahin, Christina Rhinehart, and Matthew Rhinehart.
In addition to his first wife Ann, Don was preceded in death by his daughter Dorothy (Dodi) Hawkins Cummings, his brother Clifford (Bud) Hawkins and sister Lois McNier.
Due to Covid restrictions, services will be virtual. If you wish to view the service, a link will be available on Don’s tribute page at www.wilson-miller.com beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 11. A celebration of life will follow when it is safe again to gather in person.
Contributions in Don’s name can be made to Memorial Presbyterian Church Food Bank or Midland Noon Rotary. The family is being served by the Wilson MILLER Funeral Home. Personal messages of condolence may be directed to the family at www.wilson-miller.com.
The family would like to extend an immense thank you to the phenomenal, caring staff at Independence Village, who treated Don like family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald A. Hawkins, please visit our floral store.