Kathleen “Kate” Hawkins
- October 23, 2022
Kathleen “Kate” Hawkins
Kathleen “Kate” Hawkins, 88, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, at Meth-Wick Community in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a courageous battle with dementia. Kate is finally at peace with her Lord. Memorial service will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 361 17th St. SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Private family inurnment will be held at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery.
Kate was born on Jan. 19, 1934, in Chicago, Ill., the daughter of Harold and Betty (Andrews) Foster. The family moved to a farm in northern Illinois in 1942. It had no electricity or plumbing and a mile long muddy lane. Kate rode horseback three miles to a one-room country schoolhouse. She attended high school in Rockton, Ill. She met her husband, Lee Hawkins, at Beloit College and they were united in marriage after graduation.
They lived in Chicago, where Lee attended medical school at the University of Chicago while Kate taught school in Homewood, Ill. The couple moved to Los Angeles where Lee did his internship at LA County Hospital, meanwhile, Kate went to University of Southern California where she received her master’s degree in education. After this, they moved to Iowa City where Lee did his residency in orthopedics and Kate taught school until their son, Leland Foster Hawkins, was born. Next the couple moved to Denver, Colo., where Lee taught at the University of Colorado Medical School for seven years. This is where their daughter Sarah Jane Hawkins was born. In 1973, they moved permanently to Cedar Rapids.
Kate’s faith played a key role in her life. She was a loving and active member of the First Congregational UCC and two prayer groups, the Joy Sisters and Sonshine. She believed in the power of prayer and prayed daily for many friends and family. She loved God and family most of all.
Kate’s family was another important part of her life. After Sarah’s first husband (Brian) passed away, Kate stepped in to be a pillar in Sarah’s family. She spent afternoons playing outside, reading and traveling with the family during this difficult time and beyond. She also enjoyed spending time with Foster and his family in Marshalltown, Iowa. The family cabin in Georgetown, Colo., was one of her favorite places. She was known to be the first one up in the morning reading by the fire. She also had quite the reputation for being a card shark and proudly won often. She was so grateful for every memory created there with family and friends. The cabin and the mountains will miss her too.
Kate was curious about everything which led to her to be a lifelong learner. She loved auditing classes at Coe College and listening to Great Courses. Kate made brave attempts at motorcycle and welding classes as well. In 2019 she self-published two books, Gifts in the Night, that contained stories that she had been writing for years. She was delighted when Our Iowa Magazine published her written experience of buying part of her heritage family farm at auction.
She had such an adventurous and creative spirit. Kate was passionate about fine art, public art and art history. Kate had an ocean kayak that she named Grace. She was still taking it out at 80 years old. She enjoyed civilian police academy, was an avid garage saler, cake decorator, stained glass artist, woodworker and traveler. Friends and family could feel her thoughtful spirit when Kate handed them a stack of her printed photos that she had taken. And let’s not forget, she had a healthy sweet tooth and loved her tea with extra sugar!
She loved living in Cedar Rapids and was a very active participant in the community. Kate had an annual garage sale every year for close to 40 years, “Kate’s Sale.” She refinished countless pieces of beautiful furniture. Her May Day coffees were an annual event that benefitted Linn County Food Bank. These parties featured beautiful and delicious cookies and many friends all around. Kate was a huge fan of her neighborhood Mount Vernon Road Hy-Vee, after walking there in the mornings she’d come home feeling upbeat and positive. The staff there was like her second family, very loved. Thank you Hy-Vee employees!!!
Kate is survived by her two children, Leland (Nancy) Foster Hawkins of Denver, Colo., and Sarah (Mark) Benesh of Mount Vernon, Iowa; four grandchildren, McKenna (Max) Bernard, Thomas (Sydney) Bernard, Olivia Hawkins and Emily Benesh; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Dilibert of Somis, Calif., and Adeline Sanford of San Diego, Calif.; and loving family members and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Lee Hawkins; sister, Margaret “Peg” Foster, son-in-law, Brian Bernard; brother-in-law, John “Jack” Sanford; and brother-in-law, Joe Dilibert.
Kate’s family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Mary Ann Nelson and her staff and the staff at Meth-Wick Community for their tender and loving care given to Kate.
Memorial donations may be directed to the Linn County Food Bank, Trees Forever and First Congregational Church UCC in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.