When she died, the editor of the local newspaper asked me to write an article about her in addition to the obituary. Here is the awkward piece I put together that doesn't begin to do her justice:
Becky Hawk: A Life of Style
By: Sam Hawk
My mother’s obituary was printed in this paper on December 31, and it covered the basics- education, survivors, funeral arrangements- but it could not possibly capture the essence of a woman who lived her life with intelligence, wit, and style. I flatter myself to think I could do so either, but I have enough of my mother in me to give it a shot.
Rebecca Tigert was born in Greer and raised mostly in Greenville, one of two daughters of a prominent lawyer and state legislator. At an early age, she was taught the value of giving back to the community and this was a lesson that guided her life. She always found time to volunteer, in whatever capacity she was needed, whether it was knitting baby blankets for disadvantaged infants, honoring veterans or beautifying her town. When the old North Augusta City Hall was built, she saw how barren it was and took the initiative to plant azaleas. Initiative was one of Becky Hawk’s defining characteristics. She didn’t wait to be told what to do; she planned, executed and led. These qualities were put to good use by the Edgefield County Hospital Auxiliary, the ECW, and garden clubs, including the state garden council which she served in various capacities. Becky Hawk could always be counted on to follow through.
She and my dad met at, of all romantic places, a rabies clinic. She was living in Beaufort, South Carolina, and took her sister’s fluffy white cat to get a shot. She was quite a looker, and her sweater was covered in fur. It took all of dad’s will power not to help her clean off the sweater. He had no idea who she was but couldn’t get her out of his mind. She had that effect on people. Eventually, he found her and they were married in Savannah in December, 1953. They celebrated their 55th anniversary in 2008.
She was a true southern lady who could shoot straight and entertain with elegance. In fact, shooting skeet across Port Royal Sound was one of her passions. She loved the coast, and was one of the great sun-worshippers. Some of my greatest memories are of endless hours walking down the beach with mom as she identified plants and birds and collected shells. She was also a fashion plate who was naturally chic. She had a good eye and an unerring sense of what worked for her and she always looked fabulous.
I would like to think I inherited some of these qualities. I know my sister Jane has. This past week, I have had the privilege of talking with many people whose lives she touched. This is her legacy.