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Neighbors: Goodbye to someone special

Gary Hawkins, right, with grandson Aiden.
(Submitted photo)

Gary Hawkins, right, with grandson Aiden. (Submitted photo)

Hello neighbor.

It is a sad week for me and my family. We’ve lost someone very special.

I met Gary Hawkins when I was just a child — that’s going back almost 50 years.

He was my cousin Cindy’s boyfriend when I first met him, and he later became her husband. Cindy was 10 years older than me and Gary was five years older than her, so our relationship started out with them as babysitters. But, as the years passed, our relationship changed.

Gary became not only an in-law, but a dear friend. He was there through all of our family’s losses and drama and he was, for sure, our rock. While the rest of us fought or grieved, he was the constant, the steady, the voice of reason.

If something needed fixing, Gary fixed it, or he learned how and then he fixed it.

He visited us a lot when I was a child and teen, but as my sister and I grew up and got married, we didn’t see him quite as much, though we always lived close by. It didn’t matter though, because each time we did see him, it was like no time had passed at all. We’d just pick up where we left off.

We had our yearly cookouts and our family gathering on Christmas Day at my sister’s house, and Gary, as always, would entertain us quietly with his dry sense of humor. He could carry on a lengthy conversation about any subject.

Over the past year or so, my dad has been in and out of the hospital and it was Gary and Cindy who were his first visitors and the first to offer their support.

We are going to miss Gary dearly. Yes, we’ll still have our family gatherings, but now there will be two empty seats. Mom and Gary.

The handsome man with the tough exterior, who enjoyed sitting on the floor with his 8-year-old grandson Aiden building LEGOs, has left us.

There have been many words used to describe him — husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, relative, friend, captain, too many to list all — but I think selfless describes him best.

American author and poet Maya Angelou said, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” We were all very blessed to have Gary in our lives.

Goodbye Gary. We love you!

THE GREENFIELD COMMUNITY COLLEGE Senior Symposia, “The Independence of Rebecca Dickinson,” will be held Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. in its downtown center. The cost is $10. Marla Miller, professor of history and director of the Public History Project at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will present the symposia.

GREENING GREENFIELD, St. James Episcopal Church and Traprock Center for Peace and Justice will present the film “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?” by Taggart Siegel on Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the church parish hall on the corner of Church and Federal streets. There will be a discussion after the film, which will be led by Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield.

BOY SCOUT TROOP 9 of Northfield was recently presented a certificate for 85 years of continuous service.

The certificate was presented by the Western Massachusetts Council of Boy Scouts of America at its annual Leader Recognition Dinner, which was held at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee.

Congratulations to Troop 9’s scouts and its Scoutmaster Chris Scott for continuing the tradition.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: franklincountyneighbors@gmail.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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