KAREN JEAN HAWKINS
Karen Jean Hawkins, “Swamp Diva”, 77, died Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Memorial Hospital, Jacksonville, FL. Born in Tampa, FL in 1939, she spent her happiest childhood years in Atlantic Beach, FL. She is a proud graduate of Fletcher High School class of 1957. After graduating from St. Lukes Hospital School Of Nursing in Jacksonville, she continued her studies at Georgia State and Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Karen achieved her Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist degree and practiced at Grady and Piedmont Hospitals in Atlanta before going into private practice in the north Georgia mountains. In the 80's she left her anesthesiology practice to manage a small farm, open a health food cafe and become a highly successful ReMax real estate agent.
Returning to Atlantic Beach in 1990, Karen helped care for her parents, Margaret Hogg Hawkins and Durwood E. Hawkins, until they passed away. She owned several apartment properties and devoted herself to volunteering in civic organizations, most notably the Beaches Fine Arts Series which her father helped found in the 70's. She particularly enjoyed acting as their triathlon race director for a number of years. As primary organizer of Fletcher class of ‘57 reunions and alumni president of the Nursing class of ‘60, she helped create fun and memorable events. Karen also founded the international professional organization, Association for Vascular Access, and traveled the country as an educator for a medical device firm.
Karen dubbed herself “Swamp Diva” as an expression of her devotion to the beloved Florida Gators. She would also answer to “Energizer Bunny”, an homage to her boundless energy. She had a passion for food...growing it, cooking it, canning it and private labeling her own Datil Pepper Sauce. She loved her “Yarden”, generously sharing its bounty. Her world wide travels were memorialized with her own professional quality photography. Karen spent countless hours n her backyard creating a butterfly nursery where caterpillars could safely hang out. She loved her life with black labs, Pepper and Star Boy, until they passed and then a Calico kitten named Angel came to stay with her until Karen, herself, became an angel.
Karen is survived by the family she chose as her own, Marie and Dave Reeder, their daughter Brandee Lee Charles, husband Paul and children Keegan Lakota and Lilly Rain of Jacksonville, FL.; sister Anne Goggans, husband Don and son Ben of LaGrange, KY; sister Diane Watson, husband Billy, niece Jenni Graven, husband Brett and children Caroline and Will; nephew Hank all of MS; her cousins: Guy M. (deceased) and Margie Johnson and children Jenny, Mike, David, Steve of GA., Bing and Carol Johnson of Jacksonville, FL, Mildred Barnes Rizk and children Allison and Carolyn of NC; Betsy and Skip Mixson and children Jeff and Charles of GA.; Richard and Tina Barnes and children Richard Lee and Corey; Fred R. Sias, Jr. and children Tricia and Tina; Peggy and Don Lantz of Orlando, FL and children Linda, Janet, Philip and Carolyn.
Karen’s ashes will be distributed in accordance with her last wishes. One of Karen’s favorite local charities is No More Homeless Pets. Should you wish to make a donation in her name, she would be pleased.