Edith E. Hawkins, 98, died Sunday, May 13, in Wichita Falls.
Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday May 17, at Riverside Cemetery in Wichita Falls, with Rev. Jimmy Withers, pastor of the Aurora Baptist Church in Aurora, officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Davis Funeral Home of Henrietta.
Mrs. Hawkins was born April 6, 1914 in Coolidge, Limestone County, to Bluford Sanders East and Beulah May Perry. She was united in Marriage to Berry J. Hawkins, Sr., on Dec. 23, 1935 in Temple.
She was valedictorian of the Cotulla High School graduating class of 1932 and valedictorian of her graduating class from King’s Daughter’s Hospital Nursing School in 1936. She was an accomplished painter of portraits and landscapes as well as an expert seamstress. She was a strong health care advocate and a driving force in the conception and construction of the Gerald Champion Memorial Medical Center in Otero County, N.M., in 1948.
She had been a resident of Presbyterian Manor in Wichita Falls for one year, having lived the previous eight years in South Fork, Colo., where she was a member of New Hope Community Church and belonged to the Order of Eastern Star in Del Norte, Colo.
During World War II, Holloman Air Force Base was a training and final departure base for B-29 pilots. Wives and families of pilots and crew were often left stranded following their departure to battle assignments. She and her husband, Berry J. Hawkins, lead the American Red Cross effort to assure these individuals were assisted back to their home communities or assisted in finding jobs in the community.
When her husband died in 1965, she re-entered the nursing profession in Ruidoso, N.M., and later became Director of Nursing in Shamrock. She returned to Wichita Falls, where she was Head Nurse for the Coronary Care Unit and later helped to establish a new Progressive Care Unit at Bethania Hospital.
She twice served as Worthy Matron for the Wichita Falls Eastern Star and continued as a member of that organization to the time of her death. She was a member of Lamar Baptist Church prior to moving to Kerrville in 2003.
She is preceded in death by two sisters, Carrie Lee Mirick and Frankie Johns; three brothers, Ray East, Joyce East, Frederick East; her husband, Berry J. Hawkins; and a daughter, Sandra C. Taylor.
Survivors include a stepsister, Patsy East Hardin; a son, Berry J. Hawkins, Jr. and wife La Rue of Aurora; and a son-in-law, Bill A. Taylor of Wichita Falls; six grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
The family will be at the funeral home from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Memorials can be made to Hospice of Wichita Falls, 4909 Johnson Road, Wichita Falls, Texas 76310.