Robert K. Hawkinson Jr.
September 9, 1929 – July 18, 2019
Robert K. “Bob” Hawkinson, Jr., P.E., age 89, passed away Thursday, July 18, 2019 in Hope Hospice & Palliative Care of RI surrounded by his family. He was the husband of Helen (Prendergast) Hawkinson to whom he was married for 62 years.
Born in New York City, NY the son of the late Robert K., Sr. and Juliette (Cabaud) Hawkinson, he was a longtime resident of both Providence and Warren, RI.
Mr. Hawkinson graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.S. in Engineering in 1951. He put his exceptional skills as an engineer to work in the marine and real estate industries, including Julius Mock & Sons, Inc. of Brooklyn, NY and Juniper Industries of Middle Village, NY, while living in Manhasset, NY and later in Sea Cliff, NY. He, along with his wife and children, moved to Providence, RI in 1970 to open a new IHOP franchise on Thayer Street and The Spirit Shop liquor store in Fox Point. After several successful years as a business owner, he decided to return to engineering, joining the office of Housing & Community Development for the city of Providence where he used his skills inspecting homes to enable low and moderate income residents of Providence to avail themselves of federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After retiring from the City of Providence, he continued to consult as a Professional Engineer until 2011.
The epitome of integrity, Bob instilled the importance of hard and honest work in his children. When he wasn’t putting his energy to use in his profession, he used it to help better the lives of those around him. In 1972, the family moved to Smith Hill where both parents devoted themselves to the reopening of St. Patrick’s Word of God parish and school as part of the Charismatic revival. Always motivated to do God’s work, Bob and Helen opened their home to hundreds of travelers, missionaries, teachers and community members in need, providing shelter, food and compassion without judgement. Other beneficiaries of Bob’s generous nature included Our Lady of Peace Retreat House in Narragansett, Save the Bay, the RI Food Bank and numerous other organizations and individuals.
In his personal life, Bob loved anything to do with the water – sailing, boating, clamming or just enjoying the view of the Warren River from the deck of the home he and Helen moved to in 1999. Ever-patriotic, he loved watching the U.S. flag fly high on the flag pole overlooking the water. During their “retirement” years, Bob and Helen traveled extensively and especially enjoyed recounting their adventures to Norway, Ireland, Alaska, Australia, Africa and other faraway lands. They shared their love for travel with their children on trips to Hawaii and the Bahamas in recent years. Some of Bob’s “favorite things” included whole belly clams and clams on the half shell, clam chowder (the New England variety, of course!), lobster, steak, ice cream, and anything made with blueberries – especially pancakes, pie and cheesecake. He hated socks.
In addition to his beloved wife whom he was absolutely devoted to until the end (and no doubt continues to watch over from Heaven), he is survived by his son, Robert K. Hawkinson III, P.E. and U.S. Navy Veteran; his daughter Christine Hawkinson, and grandson, Christopher Overton. His funeral service will be held on Friday, July 26, 2019 at 10:00 AM at St. Mary of the Bay Church, 645 Main St., Warren followed by burial in St. Mary of the Bay Cemetery. Prior to the funeral Mass, those wishing to pay respects may do so at Wilbur-Romano Funeral Home located across the street from the church at 615 Main Street from 8:30-9:30 AM. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the St. Mary of the Bay Food Pantry, Save the Bay (www.savebay.org), or Hope Hospice (www.hopehealthco.org) which provided such compassionate care in the final days until Bob was called home to Heaven.
“The people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.” – Isaiah 40:31
- Visitation Friday, July 26, 2019
- Funeral Mass Friday, July 26, 2019
- Burial Friday, July 26, 2019
Robert K. Hawkinson Jr.
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July 22, 2019
Thank you, Lorraine and Michael, for sharing this wonderful memory of your visit last year! Mom and dad so enjoyed the visit from our Irish cousins, and especially meeting your lovely daughters. Hugs to all and thank you for your warm thoughts. xoxo
July 22, 2019
I would be remiss if I didn’t express my heartfelt appreciation to those who helped to bring a smile to dad’s face even as his body betrayed him:
To my partner, Michael Mercer, and his family – Pat, Adam, Justin and Kelsey – for opening their home and their hearts to both of my parents even as it’s presented its share of challenges. Your warmth and caring continue to mean so much, and memories of all of the holidays, birthdays and random cookouts, enjoying some of dad’s favorites – clams, lobster, steak or burgers washed down with a beer or two – will live on in my memory and in so many wonderful photos.
To Kathy and Bob Dod, and Father Jim Dwyer, for years of friendship, as well as your visits and support throughout dad’s recent hospital stays.
To Fran Collins, for your friendship and support, and notably for introducing dad to Daily Guideposts which brought him so much comfort over the years, right up until the end when he was no longer able to read it on his own.
To all of you who reached out to dad over the past few years, whether by phone or in person, and for your prayers. They’ve been answered.