Joan Elsasser Hawkins, age 83, passed away Tuesday, June 11, at her home in Freeland.
On a warm August day in 1935 in Portland, Ore., Joan Hawkins’ story began. With a passion for creating and sharing, Joan set off into the world to make her way, touching the lives of so many along the way. Joan met and married her husband, James Vernon Hawkins, in 1953, and together they began their family. After raising their children, Teri, Cris, Tami and Cory, Joan and Vern moved from Northern California to retire on Whidbey Island.
Joan’s entrepreneurial spirit and eye for color and form led her to become a professional dressmaker. Whether she was crafting a bespoke beaded gown for a new bride, a ruffled can-can costume for a Civic Light Opera ingenue, or a pint-sized peacoat for her granddaughter’s doll, she created with passion and joy. She volunteered her time with Soroptimist International, doing her part to improve the lives of women around the world. And she stopped often to take in the beauty of Whidbey Island, and imparted on her friends and family the importance and power of gratitude.
Joan was the beloved wife of the late Vernon Hawkins, the devoted mother of Teri Hawkins and her wife Susan, Cris Hawkins, Tami Gilbert and her husband Peter and Cory Hawkins and his wife Sharon. She was the favorite “Mema” of grandchildren Jennifer Gilbert Adjali, Nicholas Gilbert, Spencer Gilbert, Brendan Hawkins, Nathan Hawkins and Cameron Hawkins.
Joan’s children gathered to hold a private memorial on Whidbey island.