Joanne B. Hawkins, 60, funeral director

Joanne Barbara Hawkins

Joanne Barbara Hawkins was well respected by her colleagues and was a member of the Pennsylvania Keystone Funeral Directors Association.

She was president of the Quaker City Funeral Directors Association for three consecutive terms even though the bylaws only allowed two terms.

For 35 years, she helped untold families as she guided them through the process of “letting go” of loved ones. She always provided service with style, grace, smile and a hug. Even though it may have been one of several funerals she was handling, she knew that for each family, it was their only funeral service, and there was only one opportunity to do it right.

Hawkins had a commanding style, a sense of humor, a flair for dress and a love of people.

Hawkins died on January 20. She was 60.

“She was more like my sister than my cousin,” said relative Bruce Hawkins. “We were very close all throughout our lives.”

Hawkins was born on May 16, 1951, in Philadelphia. She was the second of two children born to James L. and Sara Wilson Hawkins. She was a graduate of Philadelphia High School For Girls, class of 1968, and went onto George Washington University where she graduated magna cum laude in 1972.

She then attended American Academy, McAllister Institute of Mortuary Science and after completion, affiliated with her father’s business, the James L. Hawkins Funeral Home in South Philadelphia.

Hawkins was a dedicated member and officer of Frontiers International, Philadelphia Frontiers and founder of the Carteret County Frontiers in North Carolina. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she was a board member of Lincoln Day Nursery. Hawkins believed in service to family, community, business and the arts. She participated fully in what went on around her wherever she was.

In 2005, Hawkins retired to Morehead City, North Carolina, and enjoyed living in a beach town. She would often call friends and family in the middle of the winter to report how warm it was in her town.

Hawkins was also a loving and dedicated caregiver to her husband. She was also a well-loved Walmart associate for five years. On the day of her viewing in Morehead City, the Walmart store closed so that all of the employees could pay their respects and say their good-byes to their friend and colleague.

Hawkins leaves to mourn: husband, Rev. Larry Harris; children, Ernest and Sharilyn Harris; grandchildren, Quadel, Ezekiel, Lydia and Alexis Harris, and Robert McGrier II and Bryce; mother-in-law, Barbara Jane Harris; sister, Sara H. Bachman; sisters-in-law, Leslie Fletcher and Stacie Turks; two nieces, Jennifer Puda and Suzette Rose; four nephews, Robin and Ibrahim Fletcher, and James and Daniel Bachman.

She was preceded in death by her son Kevin Harris.

Services will be held January 30, at Gospel Temple Baptist Church, 1327 South 19th Street. The viewing will be from noon to 7 p.m. The service will start at 7 p.m. Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

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