William Atwood Hawks of Burlington, NC passed away on Wednesday January 12, 2022 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was born in Mt. Airy, NC to Hazel and Rupert Hawks. He is survived by Jennie, his wife of 64 years; daughters Diane Smith of Atlanta, Julie Edge (Bubba) of Macon, son Howard (Melanie) of Elon and half-brother Charles (Marsha) of Newland, NC. “Papa” and “Pops” leaves behind four loving grandchildren; Harris, Davis, Ellis and Sam. He is predeceased by his parents, and brothers, Al Hawks and Robert Hawks and half-brother Rupert Hawks.
In 1950, Bill graduated from Mt. Airy High School where he excelled as an athlete where he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. His accomplishments enabled him to be inducted into both the Mt. Airy and Surry County Sports Hall of Fames. He went on to attend the University of North Carolina on a football scholarship. His next stop was Waco, Texas where he served his country in the United States Air Force, retiring as a captain after four years.
Bill then returned to Mt. Airy to begin a career in the hosiery business. This is where his legacy was cemented. After pounding the pavement in New York City for a couple of years, he moved to Burlington in 1964 to join Annedeen Hosiery. His passion for the industry was evident as he grew companies and started new ones. Bill was respected by his customers and beloved by his employees. Most still referred to him as Mr. Hawks long after he retired. Throughout his career, Bill always credited his colleagues and co-workers for his success.
Bill was an avid fan of the Tarheels. He loved football Saturdays in Kenan Stadium and the association he had with the lettermen and coaches. Basketball games were other opportunities to spend time with family and friends and, of course, yell at the referees. He always enjoyed the banter he had with friends at neighboring schools.
The game of golf was special to him. Known for his length off the tee, he often was better from trouble spots than the middle of the fairway. He enjoyed several holes in one and was able to shoot his age on a couple of rounds.
Bill faithfully served as an active member of Front Street United Methodist Church and was very involved in numerous leadership positions in many civic and non-profit organizations. He also devoted much time and talent to UNC and Elon in various roles. Bill was a very generous person as he enjoyed giving more than receiving.
He definitely was a people person which made him a great husband, father, grandfather, friend, co-worker, and salesman. He gave out hugs frequently and never met a stranger.
The family was blessed with caregivers who lovingly took care of Bill. Those “angels”- Janice Wise, Naomi Taylor, Jacob Nichols, Felisha Elliott, Carol Pulliam, Denise Quinn, and Sheila Worth- are considered family.
In lieu of flowers, honor Bill by supporting our local Hospice organization (https://www.authoracare.rg/give/donate-online) or Front Street United Methodist Church (https://app.easytithe.com/app/giving/fron136439).
Services will be held Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 1:00pm at Front Street United Methodist Church in Burlington, NC. A reception will follow Bill’s celebration of life.