Donald D. Hawkins

Born: Thu., Jan. 5, 1922
Died: Sun., Dec. 2, 2012

Memorial Service

3:00 PM Thu., Dec. 13, 2012
Location: Pendleton Convention Center

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Donald “Deacon” Hawkins, Pendleton farmer and community leader, passed away at the family home on Sunday, December 2, 2012.  Don was born in Pendleton on January 5, 1922, son of Malinda Eggers Hawkins and Joe Hawkins.  The family lived on a wheat farm near Myrick Station, north of Pendleton.  Don and his five siblings attended a country grade school before graduating from Griswold (Helix) High School.  Don’s well-respected work ethic started as a boy on the farm first with chores and then driving a horse and mule team pulling combines.  Don attended Oregon State College, majoring in agriculture, where he was also Pacific Coast Conference Champion Boxer in the 155 pound weight division in 1942.

In 1942, Don was drafted into the army where he served with honor in the 58th Field Artillery Battalion.  In his three year army service, Don fought in major battles in Sicily, Northern France, Ardennes, and the Rhineland including the Battle of the Bulge and the second wave of the landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day.  During much of Don’s service he traveled with General George Patton.

Upon his return from service in 1945, Don married his college sweetheart (and Pendleton native) Helen Rice.  Don and Helen celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this spring in typical Hawkins’ style – family, community friends and a memorable party.  Helen and Don have five daughters and a son:  Sherri  Leisinger (Andy); Julie Carter (Jim); Tim Hawkins (Jennifer); Candy Wheeler (Frank); Pam Hawkins (Mike Barker, deceased); Becca Zollman (Garry).  They have 16 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews. 

Don’s life centered on the family ranch and community service.  The family farm  near Pendleton became a Century Farm in 2000.  Don ranched with his two brothers, Bob (deceased) and Wray, Don’s nephews and his son Tim and grandson Tanner.  Many young men worked on the Hawkins ranches in the Helix and Echo areas over the years and learned early lessons of loyalty, responsibility and fun. 

Don was well respected for his long service to the community.  He and Helen have been active members of the Pendleton Peace Lutheran Church for many years.  Don was a boardmember of Pendleton Public Schools,  Helix Public Schools, Umatilla County ESD, Pendleton Grain Growers, Federal Land Bank and the Oregon Wheat League.  Don was a longtime and devoted presence in the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon.  He was a member of the Round-Up Board and member and President (1966-67) of the Happy Canyon Board and selected as Grand Marshal of the Westward Ho! Parade in 2004.  He and brothers Bob and Wray were also selected to be members of the Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame.  Also in 2004, Don was awarded the Diamond Pioneer Award by Oregon State University.  Don was recently elected as well to the Pendleton High School Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

Don’s social group memberships were important connections for him.  These included the Pendleton Elks Lodge, Stanfield Moose Lodge, Pendleton Eagles Lodge and the VFW.  Don rarely missed the Saturday afternoon get-togethers of the Pendleton 4-6 Club, where he regularly took his son, sons-in-law and grandsons as guests.

At the top of Don’s life list was his family and family gatherings.  A great part of his recreation included one or more of his own children, his grandsons or granddaughters or great grandchildren.  Sometimes this was teaching about how to work and play and other times just watching and enjoying the activities in which they were engaged.  He loved to hunt with both his family and close friends.  He remained a loyal Oregon State Beaver fan with a pause for support of WSU football during the years that his two grandsons played there.

We will all miss the Deacon and his large presence in all that was good in the community.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made in Don’s name to The Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame, the Umatilla Historical Society, the Peace Lutheran Church or any other charity.  Donations may be made through Burns Mortuary of Pendleton.  A memorial service will be held at The Pendleton Convention Center at 3pm on Thursday, December 13, 2012.  Send condolences online

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Condolence Booklet

Patty Ewing-Broker
   Posted Tue December 04, 2012
The Hawkins family will be in my daily prayers during this difficult time. Mr. Hawkins was such a wonderful gentleman, and his legecy will live on forever. God bless you all and watch over you, Patty.

Patty S Daly
   Posted Wed December 05, 2012
Prayers to Helen and kids. Will always remember Don''s great laugh and sense of family.

   Posted Thu December 06, 2012
TO THE DON HAWKINS FAMILY: Don was a super guy and a gentleman all the times we met as friends. You were fortunate to have had him for all those years and I know he will be missed.

Raley and Jackie Peterson
   Posted Thu December 06, 2012
Jackie and I were saddened to learn of Don''''s passing. He was a leader in so much of what life in Umatilla County is about. Agriculture, the Round-Up, Happy Canyon, and on and on. He will be missed. Happy trails, deac.

Steve & Ginny (Terjeson) Montgomery
   Posted Sat December 08, 2012
Helen and familly - We will truly miss Don. He was such a huge part of everyone's life for so many years. A really wonderful family man who had a gift for life. Always one to greet you with a smile and you knew he meant it. Our heart's go out to all of you!

Jack and Wanda Williams
   Posted Sat December 08, 2012
What a very sad time for the Hawkins family, to lose your loved one that was such a pillar in your lives and the lives of the entire Umatilla County with his huge heart and wonderful smile and personality. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Be strong.

michael burton
   Posted Sun December 09, 2012
To helen and family:

I'am so sorry to hear news about. Don was one the best around always giving all the time. I remember on a very hot day washing windows at the ranch, don came up to me and said when you are done go on down to the shop and help yourself to a cold beer . I remember that like it was yesterday . He was always happy and even if he wasn't he never showed it really gentle person . I will miss him greatly when i come to pendleton to visit and always. take care of each like it is the last day cause you never know.

take care

Michael Burton

Charlotte (Brown) & Randy Dickerson
   Posted Sun December 09, 2012
Helen & Family,
Our prayers are with you. Deacon was and always will be the most loved person in Pendleton. We will miss his smile and laugh. Although we are not family, I always felt like we were.

Mark Bowman
   Posted Mon December 10, 2012
Helen & family, to live such a rewarding, wonderful life in God's Country, Deacon was truly blessed. Deacon was their when I called upon him to help me after my dad, Perry Bowman passed away 10 years ago. Deacon & all the Hawkins family I was privilaged to know never once hesitated in lending a helping hand to Perry, or myself, & that truly shows how loving & strong a family can be.

Mark Bowman

Michael and Liz Stoddart
   Posted Sat December 15, 2012
To the Hawkins family,

Looking back throught the years we knew Deacon it was very apparent he was a family man, always had good things to say and had a smile on his face. We will his friendly smile.

Michael and Liz Stoddart

Dena Gray
   Posted Wed January 02, 2013
I was so sorry to hear of Don's passing. He was always so good to me and I will always remember that big smile... Blessings to Helen and family.


Kenny Cochran
   Posted Sat January 26, 2013
In honor of and in memory of
Mr Don Hawkins...

They walked in silence
It was getting late
He stepped ahead to open the gate
She wanted to thank him
But didn't know how
Cuz he was a farmer
And she was a cow...

Condolences to: Helen
Sherrie Julie Tim Candy Pam Becca
Todd Matt Lindsey
Emily Tyler
Adam Tanner Blair Kelsey
Kindra Josh
Taylor Marissa

Kenny Donna Kendra
and family

Image: Suat Eman /

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