DECATUR — James Arthur (Jim) Hawkins died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Decatur, on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.
Jim - Hawk to his friends - was born in Gary, IN on May 29, 1943 to Bernice and Vema Hawkins. The family moved to Grayville, IL when Jim was a boy, and Grayville is where he attended school. After leaving high school, Jim joined the United States Army and proudly served his country overseas from August 22, 1960 until he was honorably discharged on July 29, 1963.
After the service, Jim returned to Grayville, where in 1964 he met Janice (Jan) Elaine Mann. After a whirlwind romance of 5 weeks, the two were married and lived in Grayville until 1965, when Jim was hired as a tire builder at Firestone and the two moved to Decatur where they made their home and raised three sons.
Over the years, Jim was a member of many fraternal organizations. He was a Past Master of the Stephen Decatur Masonic Lodge and a former Shriner. He also belonged to the American Legion where he served in multiple positions of responsibility during his time with the organization.
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Jim retired from Firestone in 1995 after thirty years as a tire builder. However, retirement didn't suit Jim, so he returned to the workforce, working at Lowe's for ten years. During his lifetime, Jim engaged in many hobbies. He was a tireless, life-long supporter of the Chicago Cubs; if they were playing and he could watch or listen to the game, he would do exactly that. Jim was also an avid fisherman and he spent the equivalent of years on his bass boat on Lake Shelbyville or Lake Decatur, often accompanied by Jan or one or more of his sons. Jim developed an interest in woodworking and became quite a craftsman, forming innumerable shelves, pieces of furniture, and signs from blank pieces of wood. Many of his early projects were made as gifts for family members, but in the last years of his life, Jim also turned his hobby into an additional source of income. In 2009, Jim and his youngest son purchased a 1953 Chevrolet truck, which they spent countless hours restoring. When it was complete, the truck made appearances at numerous car shows and won many awards.
Jim's family was very important to him. He was enormously proud of his three sons, four grandsons, two granddaughters, and two great-granddaughters. He always enjoyed occasions when all the family could be together and he was able to be with his wife, children, grand and great-grandchildren once more just a few days prior to his passing.
Jim is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Janice, sons Bradley (Angie) Hawkins and Brian (Laura) Hawkins of Decatur, and Brent Hawkins (Ronette Frank) of Mt. Pulaski, grandchildren Brent (Olivia) Hawkins II, Jordan Hawkins, Hayli (Sam) Fielden, Jackson Hawkins, Jacob Hawkins, and Jensen Hawkins, great-granddaughters Ariyanna and Adeline Hawkins, sisters Pam Moran and Donna Butler and brother, Bobby Hawkins.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, and two sisters.
Services will be held at Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Home in Decatur, on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. with visitation one hour immediately preceding the service. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made in Jim's name to Shriner's Children's Hospital. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family in care of Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Homes at www.brintlingerandearl.com.