Remembering Mr. Charles Hawkins, Noted Businessman, Community Leader, Nashville Benefactor -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 25, 2004)
HON. JIM COOPER
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2004
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the remarkable life of Mr. Charles Hawkins of Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Hawkins was a beloved figure in our community, recognized for his leadership in the business community, his enthusiastic and generous support to so many Nashville organizations and his constant willingness to offer a helping hand to anyone in need.
Charlie Hawkins was Nashville through-and-through. You might say it was a role in life he was simply born to do. His ancestors first called Nashville home in the 1860s, making Charlie, who was born there in 1932, the fourth generation in his family committed to building a greater Nashville for all.
Whatever Charlie did, he did with passion, loyalty and a commitment that was lifelong. He graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy in 1950 where we was named an all-city athlete in three sports. Years later, he would return to serve the school in many ways, including time spent on its board of directors. And Charlie's love of MBA went beyond his affection for the school itself. It was through MBA that he met the love of his life and his wife of 49 years, Lee Ann Allen Hawkins, the daughter of Howard Lee Allen, his high school coach.
From MBA Charlie went to Vanderbilt University and graduated in 1954. Charlie followed in the footsteps of his father and played baseball at Vanderbilt from 1952 to 1954. He became a star pitcher for the Commodores, celebrated as the first Vanderbilt pitcher to earn all-Southeastern Conference honors. His time on the Vanderbilt baseball team was just the beginning of his commitment to the sport, the Vanderbilt team and sharing his passion for the game with others. He donated $2 million to Vanderbilt for the construction of new stadium for the Commodores which opened in 2002. Today, the Charles Hawkins Field is enjoyed by Nashville families and the university community alike, as well as being recognized as one of the best baseball stadiums in the South.
Charlie Hawkins was a generous financial supporter of the Vanderbilt Commodores but it was his generosity of spirit and daily support to the individual students on the team that was truly outstanding. He never missed a game. He rode on the bus with the team to away games. His daughter, Leslie, baked 'good luck' cookies for the team before every game. And his door at home was always open to any player in need of a home cooked meal or a little grandfatherly advice and support. As news of his recent battle with cancer became known, this year's Commodores rallied to his support. When his illness prevented his joining the team for one recent road trip, the team took the bus to Charlie, dropping by for a good luck send-off as they headed out of town. Even though he was not able to make some of the Commodores' final games this season, Charlie was there on the field with his team who had his initials added to their baseball caps. Clearly, Charlie inspired his beloved team. The Commodores finished the season with its best record ever, winning its first NCAA Regional title and its first appearance in an NCAA Super Regional.
Charlie Hawkins touched and helped Nashvillians in many walks of life. He founded one of the city's most respected real estate development companies, the Charles Hawkins Company. Headquartered in downtown Nashville, Charlie and his company were active in bringing new growth to the area in recent years. He served on the board of the Nashville Red Cross, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Watkins Institute, Big Brothers of Nashville, the Junior League of Nashville and the Downtown Rotary of Nashville. He also served as President of the Nashville Board of Realtors and a member of the Metropolitan Port Authority. He was also a charter member of the Woodmont Christian Church where he served as an elder and Sunday school teacher. In addition for 20 years, he conducted church services at the Retired Teachers Home in his Green Hills neighborhood.
My hometown lost a very special friend with the recent death of Charlie Hawkins at the age of 72. On behalf of the fifth district of Tennessee, I send my deepest condolences to Lee Ann Hawkins and to their four children, daughters Leslie, Mary, Julia Ann and son Bill. Charlie Hawkins' generous and joyful presence will be missed in Nashville but his spirit lives on in the many programs and individuals he inspired and supported every day.