Benny Frank Hawkins Sr.

Benny Frank Hawkins Sr.

Benny Frank Hawkins Sr.


Benny Frank Hawkins Sr., 91, passed away on Aug. 31, 2022.

Memorial Services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City. Inurnment will immediately follow at the church’s columbarium.

Benny was born on Feb. 27, 1931, in Chattanooga, Tenn., to John and Corrine (Few) Hawkins. He was very proud and happy with his childhood experiences. He had a very loving family and would talk about fond memories of growing up in the projects. After graduating high school, Benny followed his older brother, Charles, to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.

On June 28, 1954, he married E. Marie Harvey in Chicago, Ill. He then pursued his dream of becoming a dentist by attending Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. He graduated with a dental degree in 1958. Benny then served in the U.S. Air Force for over 20 years, where he obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He and his young family were stationed in New York, England, California, South Dakota, Alaska and Southern Illinois. He and Marie had two sons, Benny Jr. who was born in 1960 and Christopher, who was born in 1963. Benny received his periodontal specialty from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 1972. Out of all the locations that they were stationed to within the Air Force, both Benny and Marie loved Iowa. They enjoyed the people that they met at the University and the change of seasons. Following honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1978, Benny came back to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and was faculty in the Periodontal Department until his retirement in 2005.

Benny served on many boards and committees at the University and especially enjoyed his interactions with the dental students, colleagues and, of course, his patients. Benny was always interested in other people’s lives and would remember details from previous encounters years later. He loved making connections and never knew a stranger. In 1984, shortly after becoming empty nesters, Benny and Marie became legal guardians of their only grandchild, Rachel. Years later, Benny was always thrilled to spend time with his great grandchildren, Benton and Tyson. Benny and Marie accomplished so much and truly had incredible life experiences together. They enjoyed their family time and travels together until Marie’s passing in 2014 after 60 years of marriage.

Benny had many hobbies. He enjoyed taking long walks and driving the open road. He volunteered for Table to Table and Meals on Wheels after his retirement. He was a supporter of Iowa Hawkeye sports for over 40 years. He also appreciated the theater and would attend shows and usher at Hancher Auditorium. He loved the University life and would frequently attend programs and events throughout the years.

Benny is survived by his son, Christopher Hawkins (Stan Dombrowski); granddaughter, Rachel (Jim) Reis; great-grandchildren, Benton and Tyson Reis; daughter-in-law, Beth Hawkins; as well as two nephews, Ruye and Charles Hawkins II.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Marie; son, Benny Hawkins Jr. and his brother, Charles Hawkins I.

Memorials may be made to Morehouse College in Benny’s name ( and online condolences may be shared at

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