Kenneth E. Hawk, of Bear Creek Village, formerly of Mountain Top, passed away peacefully in Wilkes- Bare General Hospital, December 23, 2007.
He was a son of the late Charles B. and Bessie Necly Hawk. Kenneth was born the year of the Titanic disaster.
He attended a one-room grade school in Bear Creek and graduated from Lehman Township High School in 1929. He graduated from Bloomsburg State Teachers College (now Bloomsburg University) in 1931 with an associate’s degree and 1939 with a bachelor’s degree.
He earned a master’s degree in Education from Pennsylvania State University in 1941.
Kenneth taught school in Lenox Township of Susquehanna County, Lehman Township, Bear Creek Township and Steelton Borough.
He came to Mountain Top as Chief School Administrator in 1946 until 1969 he became Assistant Superintendent of Luzerne County schools for two years prior to the introduction of the Intermediate Unit. Mr. Hawk worked in public schools for 41 years.
Mr. Hawk spent four years of active duty in World War II in the European Theater of Operation for which he was awarded a direct commission and five battle stars.
In 1962, he retired as captain with an additional 16 years of duty with the U.S. Army Reserve. This year he was honored in a ceremony for World War II veterans
In his active life of community service, Mr. Hawk was a charter member of the Mountaintop Lions Club and a charter member, past president and life member of the Mountain Top Kiwanis Club where he served as chairman of the scholarship committee for over 25 years.
The Kiwanis Club honored him by naming the annual academic scholarships The Kenneth E. Hawk Achievement Award. Mr. Hawk was a charter member since 1952 and president from 1972-1994 of the Mountain Top Area Ambulance Association which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary.
As the president of the Mountaintop Area Ambulance Association, he oversaw the purchase of numerous ambulances as well as the development of the Mountain Top and Rice ambulance buildings and the heliport at Mountain Top.
Mr. Hawk assisted his late wife Beatrice in organizing the first Red Cross blood drive in the Mountain Top area. He was a multi-gallon blood donor to the Red Cross.
Mr. Hawk was an active member of Christ United Methodist Church of Mountain Top where he served as lay leader for over 25 years and a member of the Administrative Board. He taught adult Sunday school classes in Mountain Top for over 50 years. He was recently honored for 50 years of membership in the Methodist Men’s Club.
In service to the regional United Methodist Church, Mr. Hawk served as a member of the Wyoming Conference Scholarship Committee and a former member of the Sky Lake Board of Directors, where he had been a camp counselor in the 1950s.
Since 1947, Mr. Hawk has been a member of Lodge 474, F&AM, Sugar Notch. He was recently honored for 60 years of membership. In 1993 he became a 32nd degree member of Caldwell Consistory, Bloomsburg. He was also a past master of Osage Lodge, I.O.O.F. Lehman where he was a member since 1932.
In his capacity as public school administrator, he was a member of a group of administrators who organized and planned for the operation of Station 44 WVIA where he served as an early board member. He was also one of the group of school administrators on the East side of the Susquehanna River who organized and planned for the building of the Wilkes-Barre Area Vo-Tech School.
During Mr. Hawk’s lifetime in Mountain Top, he oversaw the formation of Central Luzerne County Joint School District which combined eight townships represented by 40 school board members from the Mountain Top and White Haven areas. The name was later changed to Crestwood School District.
He supervised the development and building of Crestwood High School which opened in 1962, and he carried out the planning stage of the Fairview and Rice Elementary Schools. He was a member of the Administrative Board when Albert and Mountain Top United Methodist churches joined. He served on the building committee for Christ United Methodist Church and its parsonage.
After his retirement, Mr. Hawk was a recruiter for the Upward Bound Program at Wilkes College. For a year, he supervised student teachers at Kings College. Following the flood of 1972, Mr. Hawk directed a federally subsidized self-help program for flood victims at Wilkes-Barre Vo-Tech School.
During his later years returning to live in Bear Creek, he worked with F. Charles Petrillo, a local historian, to develop a history of the lumber industry, ice cutting industry and the life of Albert Lewis. The book is titled “Albert Lewis: The Bear Creek Lumber and Ice King” and was dedicated by Mr. Petrillo to Mr. Hawk and Arthur Adam Stull.
Mr. Hawk was also a primary narrator of a videotape produced by the Bear Creek Lutheran Camp describing Bear Creek’s ice harvesting industry. Mr. Hawk was known fondly in the area as the “Historian of Bear Creek” based on his many presentations to local schools and community groups.
In recent years, Mr. Hawk was thrilled to be honored by Ed and Betty Deets with the naming of the Kenneth E. Hawk Room in The Morris Family Restaurant, Mountain Top.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Robert and Norman, and his wife of 45 years, the former Beatrice Miers, who was the operating room supervisor at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital until 1947.
Surviving are his daughter and son-in-law Nancy and Jim Merryman and his beloved granddaughter Juliann. Also surviving are his siblings, Charles, Scranton; Donald, Pocomoke City, Md; and Charlotte Benning, Willow Grove, PA; sisters-in-law Estelle Hawk, Scranton Ann Hawk, Rochester, N.Y.; Shirley Hawk, Williston, Vt.; many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
He is also survived by thousands of students to whom he dedicated the efforts of his life. Mr. Hawk’s often- stated motto was, “If you can leave this world a better place, then you have not lived in vain.”
Mr. Hawk’s family would like to thank the many kind medical professionals at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital who eased and blessed his final weeks.
Funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. from Christ United Methodist Church, Main Road, Mountain Top with the Rev. Robert Herrala officiating. The viewing will take place today from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the McCune Funeral Home, 80 S. Mountain Blvd, Mountain Top and Thursday 10 a.m. at the church until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mountain Top Area Ambulance Association, Box 63, Mountain Top, PA 18707 or Christ United Methodist Church, 175 South Main Road, Mountain Top, PA 18707.