Grace Elizabeth Hawkins
September 14, 1927 – December 21, 2020
Grace Elizabeth Hawkins, a life-long resident of Horseshoe Bend, passed away at 93 at a local care center following a recent fall at her home. She was the youngest of four children born to Robert R. and Francis E. (Stone) Bowers.
Grace married Neal E. Hawkins on June 2, 1946, shortly after his return from Army service in Europe during WWII. She and Neal had three sons – Jim, Terry, and Randy - and took great pride in the fact that all three graduated from the University of Idaho without either they or their boys accumulating any student debt. This was no small feat given that Dad spent his working career at Hoff Lumber/Boise Cascade’s local sawmill.
While primarily a homemaker/stay-at-home mom, Grace faithfully served as the secretary of Horseshoe Bend’s Pioneer Cemetery for over thirty years, retiring only when Dad could no longer drive her to fulfill her duties. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother and supported her boys’ 4-H livestock projects. She also taught sewing as a 4-H leader and volunteered at the local library where her favorite job was reading stories to the community’s young children.
Mom loved to be outside flower gardening and was also an accomplished seamstress, a prolific crocheter of doilies, and a quilter. Her loving care for Dad in his last years allowed him to stay at home until his death in 2017 at age 95. Theirs was a 70-year marriage, and Mom missed him every day since his passing. Grace Hawkins was also preceded in death by her parents and brothers, Robert, Richard, and Frank Bowers. She is survived by sons Jim (Tina), Terry (Debbie), and Randy (Kathleen), as well as seven grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter. She is additionally survived by Barbara Hawkins, a former daughter-in-law who was loved as a daughter.
The family would also like to acknowledge Staci Lane for the care, compassion, and companionship she provided both Mom and Dad.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Potter Funeral Chapel, Emmett. Condolences can be shared and the Life Sketch viewed at Potter Chapel.com. A private family viewing will take place prior to interment at the Pioneer Cemetery in Horseshoe Bend. A public memorial service will be held this spring when it is safe to gather and travel.
Grace Elizabeth Hawkins Life Sketch
September 14, 1927 - December 21, 2020
Grace Elizabeth Hawkins was born to Robert R. and Francis E. (Stone) Bowers on September 14, 1927 in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. She was their youngest child and only daughter, preceded by sons Robert, Frank, and Richard. Grace used to tell stories that began, "When I was a little boy'' .. . reflecting her brothers' strong influence. Her father "Bob" came West from Nebraska following his service in the Army Infantry in World War I (his sister, Josephine, had married local Bob Hendren). Grace's mother, Francis, was a Horseshoe Bend native and a school teacher.
Grace was just short of her third birthday when she and her mother were in a tragic automobile accident from which her mother died of her injuries. Grace carried the physical and emotional scars of this event and its aftermath for the rest of her life.
Suddenly a widower with four small children during the Depression, Bob struggled to keep the family together. He finally placed an ad in the Idaho Daily Statesman for a housekeeper and childcare provider. Colorado native Rose Mansfield was visiting family in Boise and responded. Rose was the mother of ten children, four of whom (along with a grandson) would join Bob's household in Horseshoe Bend. In any case, Rose and Bob stayed together; they married in the late 40's and passed in 1963 and 1974 respectively.
Grace attended grade school in Horseshoe Bend, walking along the canal bank to and from a farm near the old power plant. To attend high school in Montour, Grace and several other students rode a makeshift "school bus" - the bed of Granddad's pickup fitted with a tarp and benches - piloted by her brother Frank.
When Frank graduated, Mom had not yet learned to drive. It was a struggle, but Granddad managed to pay Montour widow, Mrs. Chilcott, $5/week for Mom's room and board so she could complete high school. Upon graduation, Mom earned a $50 scholarship to attend the College of Idaho; unfortunately, even in those days, $50 didn't go far; she was unable to pursue her education further. Valuing education and perhaps wishing to emulate her mother, Grace always wanted to be a teacher. After high school, she waitressed at a local restaurant and worked at Quinn's Grocery Store where her duties included pumping gas.
Grace's future husband, Neal, lived with his parents on a rented farm where the Shadow Valley Golf Course now stands. After graduating from Eagle High School, Neal was working on a haying crew in Horseshoe Bend and heard that the Frank Nolan place was up for sale. Hiis parents bought the acreage for a grand sum of $500, moving in Horseshoe Bend in 1941.
Dad met Mom when attending Montour High School football games with his brother Charlie. When he entered the Army in October 1942, his mother, Bertha, asked Mom to write to him. The two corresponded regularly until Mom discovered he was also penning letters to one of her housemates at Mrs. Chilcott's and abruptly ended the exchange. Not until January 1946 would they speak again; having just returned from the war, Dad went to a local dance Mom was also attending. In Mom's words, when he asked her to dance, it was "a magic moment." Five months later, on June 2, 1946, they were married before a Methodist minister. Dad's sister, Lola, and her husband Clifford Gibbens, were witnesses.
Neal and Grace started married life in a homemade trailer sitting under the big cottonwood tree at Neal's parents' place. When Jim was born, they moved a short distance away to a rented home on the Payette River. Mom often spoke of her concern for Jim's well-being given the home's proximity to the river and his propensity to "roam" as soon as he could walk.
They moved into their home of 72 years in October 1948, just before Terry's birth. Initially the house was nothing more than two shacks shoved together. Given that winter's record low temperatures and snowfall, Morn faced significant challenges looking after an active toddler and a newborn with health concerns. Over the years, Dad remodeled the home several times to comfortably accommodate the growing family. Being frugal, Dad's construction materials and building methods were often "make do's" but, as Mom said, there was "love in every nail." Randy was born in 1951. Because Mom came from a family of three boys and then a girl, she "guaranteed" their next child would be a daughter, but Dad always told her "quality not quantity."
While Dad always aspired to ranch, he spent his working career at Hoff Lumber/Boise Cascade, often working overtime to provide for the family. Mom stayed home and made sure, despite money being tight, that her boys were always well clothed and cared for; as she often said, "Neal and I took our job of parenting seriously." Mom was active in PTA and served as a Cub Scout Den Mother. She also taught 4-H sewing for several years and supported the boys' livestock 4-H activities. For one 4-H project, Terry raised a Jersey heifer that later provided milk for the family. Mom sold the extra milk to neighbors in gallon glass jars, providing allowances for her boys.
Mom was a good cook and homemaker, but always preferred to be outside flower gardening, or as she called it, "playing in the dirt." She could literally make things grow on a rock. She was also a talented seamstress, making many of her own clothes on her mother Francis's cherished sewing machine; it was one of the places she felt closest to her mother. In later years, Mom became a prolific crocheter of doilies. She also quilted a number of beautiful heirloom quilts - a craft she learned from her friend, Ana Fry. Morn canned countless jars of applesauce, a staple which Dad ate every morning for breakfast.
Both Grace and Neal were extremely proud of the fact that their boys all graduated from the University of Idaho.
Dad had been told by his coworkers that he couldn't put three sons through college on a sawmill workers' pay; his response was "It all depends on whether you want to." Dad and Mom's frugality along with the saved proceeds from sale of the boys 4-H animals, summer and part-time jobs, and scholarships enabled them to complete school without either parents or children accumulating any student debt.
Cats. Mom would contend that she never owned a cat. She would, however, feed any feline that showed up at her door. and so "accumulated" upwards of two dozen in her later years. When I say "feed," meals consisted of a dry food appetizer and canned food entree followed by canned milk for dessert. Each plate was lovingly arranged at each individual cat's preferred dining location.
Mom served as Ladies Improvement Club President for three years. During her term, she helped raise money from baked goods and rummage sales to build a gabled roof over the hall's original flat roof. The impetus for this remodel was Frank Church; during an early campaign he was obliged to move his microphone due to a leak in the ceiling. Asked about her departure from Ladies Club, Mom said that, as she approached middle age, she had trouble contending with both the "old timers" who didn't want anything to change and the "newcomers" who wanted to change everything. The Ladies Improvement Club did help establish Horseshoe Bend's public library; both before and after the taxing district formed and a new library was built, Mom volunteered there for a number of years. Her favorite job was reading stories to the community's young children, and among her favorite books was The Wind in the Willows.
Grace also faithfully served as the secretary of Horseshoe Bend's Pioneer Cemetery for over thirty years. As Mom explained, the previous secretary, Virginia Hansen, called her to her sick bed and asked that she take over the
job. Mom responded that Mrs. Hansen's shoes were "too big to fill." Mrs. Hansen looked over the edge of her bed, took a long look at Mom's feet, and said she supposed they were "big enough." Mom retired only when Dad could no longer drive her to fulfill her duties (her driving days ended when she finally acknowledged an occasional tendency to fall asleep at the wheel). More of a service to the community than a job, Mom's salary calculated out to
$1/day at her retirement. But, as she would say, she had the benefit of "knowing where the bodies were buried..... "
Mom often spoke fondly of her Sewing Club. Its original members would become lifelong friends. The Sewing Club was limited to 12 members so each could host the group's monthly meetings at least once during the year. As virtually all the members' husbands worked at the Sawmill, on those evenings when the ladies were holding their meetings, the husbands held their own informal gatherings at a local bar.
Mom's loving care for Dad in his last years allowed him to stay at home until his passing at 95 in 2017. The family would also like to acknowledge Staci Lane for the care, compassion, and companionship she provided both Mom and Dad.
Grace was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 70 years, Neal, in addition to her parents and brothers. She is survived by sons Jim (Tina), Terry (Debbie), and Randy (Kathleen) as well as seven grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter. She is additionally survived by Barbara Hawkins, a former daughter-in-law who was loved as a daughter.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Potter Funeral Chapel, Emmett. A private family viewing will take place prior to interment at Pioneer Cemetery, Horseshoe Bend. Condolences can be shared and the Life Sketch viewed at Potter Chapel.com. A public memorial service will be held this spring when it is safe to gather and travel.
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