January 10, 1925 - January 18, 2017
Mrs. Bettye Hawkins passed away peaceably on January 18, 2017, surrounded by family and friends at her home. Mary Elizabeth (Bettye Brooks) Foreman Hawkins, 92, lost her battle with death, as her body simply wore out. But what a glorious life she lived. Bettye was born January 10, 1925, in the Delta town of Schlater, Mississippi, to Caley Artis and Moorman Brooks Foreman. A relative visited the Foremans and their newborn first child and promptly proclaimed Miss Mary Elizabeth would henceforth be called Bettye Brooks. And she was. She had many great friends growing up in Schlater (an ability to attract affection from others marked her entire life), but three relationships would remain close through their golden years: Alice Rie Strode, Mary Jane Thatch and Annie Catherine Baird. They shared life’s highs and lows and intimacies: playing with dolls to forging families; planning weddings and facilitating funerals. They shared an unbroken, inviolate and enviable bond of friendship. Bettye Brooks was the unquestioned red-haired, blue-eyed belle of Schlater, mixing brains with beauty. She was Homecoming Queen and valedictorian before heading off to Delta State Teachers College. It was there that she met the love of her life, Gains Benjamin Hawkins Sr., an English/history major recently returned to school following WWII. After both graduated from Delta State, they married in 1947. Gains taught high school history briefly before the U.S. Army called, inviting him to re-up as an officer during the Korean War. A 29-year highly decorated military career ensued, before his retirement in 1970 with the rank of colonel. The Hawkins family, eventually growing to five children, traveled the world with tours in Japan, California, Virginia, Hawaii and Maryland. Bettye sparkled as an Army officer’s wife, hosting military brass at their home or socializing with political and Army elite at a military ball. She effused effortless Southern charm while revealing a razor-sharp intellect. She was a woman of genteel steel, a quality her husband and children knew well. Bettye reveled as mother of two sons and three daughters, oldest to youngest 12 years apart. Gains was often away weeks and months at a time on active duty, so Bettye commanded the household, but with a soothing touch and voice. She pushed her kids gently—they knew their mom believed in them fully and would support their life choices. She would forever be at their side, encouraging or consoling, and always, always their biggest champion, urging them to do their best because they were the best. Gains retired from the Army in 1970 and the family moved to West Point, Miss, minus the boys now adults. The family enthusiastically blended into the community. Gains ultimately became director of the Dugan nursing home and the girls married and started their own families. Bettye went to work as a secretary at Eastside Elementary School. After Gains’ death in 1987, she increased her involvement in the West Point community, volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce, the hospital and a host of other organizations. She joined the Red Hat Society. Her maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister and her Christian faith permeated her life. She expressed her faith through acts of kindness and generosity with The Golden Rule her guide. She was an active member of First Presbyterian Church for some 45 years. Her genteel steel was likely drawn from her internalization of her Christian beliefs—an unyielding faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior and a commitment of compassion, kindness and mutual respect to all the people she encountered. God’s Glory granted her a glorious life and she embraced it. Bettye was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her brother, Caley Artist Foreman Jr., and a grandson, Joseph Colin Hawkins. She is survived by her children: Gains Benjamin Hawkins Jr. (Holly) of Salisbury, MD; Caley Casper Hawkins (Liz) of Little Rock, AR; Patricia Brooks Johnson of Albuquerque, NM; Polly Anne Timmerman (Brooks); and Elizabeth Moorman Stringer (Robert) of Starkville, MS. She adored her grandchildren: Bleecker Marquez (Chris); Stacey Harris (Cory); Trent Woolbright (Alexis); Brad Pettit (Brooke); Ben Hawkins; Evan Hawkins (Shannon); Kristen Rowe Hawkins; Marti Hoster (DJ); Casey Hawkins; Mary Elizabeth Stringer; and Kathryn Anne Stringer. She has five great grandchildren: Nick Harris, Kylie Harris, Presley Pettit, Orion Marquez and Parker Pettit. Funeral services will be Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 2 p.m. from First Presbyterian Church in West Point. A reception will follow the funeral at First Presbyterian. The graveside ceremony is private. Visitation will be Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Calvert Funeral Home in West Point. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Diabetes Association, the American Lung Association and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Mrs. Bettye Hawkins passed away peaceably on January 18, 2017, surrounded by family and friends at her home. Mary Elizabeth (Bettye Brooks) Foreman Hawkins, 92, lost her battle with death, as her body simply wore out. But what a glorious life... View Obituary & Service Information
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