The family of Ira and Clarice Hawk have given a special gift to the First Church Communications Ministry in memory of Ira Hawk. This generous endowment will support ongoing production of the Epistle. The updated look, full-color design, and e-version are all possible because of his legacy.

Ira Hawk (1926-2018) had been a stalwart champion for our church and community since he retired to Bonita Springs in 1989. An elder at First Church, Ira was actively involved in lay leadership over the course of nearly 30 years and served on many committees.

Throughout his life, Ira stayed true to his faith and carved a unique path founded upon integrity and service. At the age of 11 this Ohio farm boy contracted polio. It was while he was homeschooled by his mother Grace that his love of the written word developed. As a polio survivor, he determined early on that this disease would not define him; he spoke at community and statewide events to help encourage others.

As a teenager, while Ira was still regaining his strength, he began publishing a monthly newsletter, The Salem Echo, whose subscribers included President Franklin Roosevelt and Shirley Temple. He graduated from Wilmington College and went on to earn a master’s in journalism from Ohio State University. He worked as a reporter for The Columbus Dispatch then returned to Wilmington College as an administrator.

By 1952, Ira began what would be a 37-year career as an executive with General Motors, which included positions in both public relations and management at Frigidaire. Ira and Clarice raised two children—Philip, who lives in Houston and Gail, who lives in Bonita. Gail and her husband Stephen are members of First Church.

In retirement, Ira became an active leader in the community and received the Love of Bonita award (2003) for his years of community service. An  unassuming, kind man, Ira not only modeled how to live a rich, meaningful life of gratitude and service, he also used the power of his words and his influence to teach those around him.

“His death has triggered in many of us not only fond memories, but a recognition that our church would not be where it is without his impact.” –Rev. Dr. Doug Pratt