Daniel Fleming Hawkins of Austin passed away Sunday, March 12, at the home of his son after a prolonged battle with cancer.
For two years he prayed and meditated for health over illness with great humor, steadfastness and humility. He also sought opinions and treatment from the doctors, nurses, and staff of the Urology Team and Texas Oncology of Austin. As part of their ongoing support, his daughter, Wendy, assisted him with medical matters; his daughter, Laura, called and wrote frequently and visited; and his son, Fred, and daughter-in-law, Laura Beth, gave him a peaceful, loving home and 24-hour care during the last month of his life, supported by Embrace Hospice.
A fifth generation Texan, he was born in Amarillo on November 13, 1938 to Mona Fleming Hawkins and Donald Webster Hawkins, who preceded him in death, as did his wife of 47 years, Jo Anne Walker Hawkins, whom he met in art school at The University of Texas at Austin. He is survived by their daughter, Laura and her husband Dr. Joachim Grevel of Shepshed, England, and their children, Walker, Carl, and Witiko, and Ines Grevel; their son, Fred Hawkins and his wife Laura Beth of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, and their children, Jennifer and husband Cody Gray, Elizabeth and husband Dr. David Joffrion, Emily, and Elijah; their daughter, Dr. Wendy Hawkins and her husband Dr. Avrim Fishkind of Houston, Texas, and their children, Max and Julia; and his first great-grandchild, Annie Joffrion.
He attended schools in Amarillo, Texas, where he began his art career at 14 as an after-school-and-Saturdays apprentice paste-up boy who worked up to staff artist for the Amarillo Globe Times newspaper, graduating from Amarillo High School in 1957. While attending college at West Texas State, he studied painting under Emilio Caballero, and began doing commissioned sketches of children and friends and their families. He continued his studies at The University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 1962, and in 1964 was awarded the first Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture by UT, where he studied under and was laboratory assistant for professor and internationally known sculptor Charles Umlauf.
In 1967 he completely redesigned the sanctuary area of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Commerce, Texas, for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas in conformity with the Second Vatican Council called by Pope John XXIII.
During his career as a sculptor and portrait artist, he taught art at the Amarillo Art Center, West Texas State University in Canyon, East Texas State University in Commerce, the Huntington Gallery at The University of Texas, and the Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin, as well as tutoring private students. He was co-founder and first president of the Texas Society of Sculptors and during his career participated in many exhibits at museums, galleries, and special community events. He usually worked by private commissions, executing formal portraits of professionally and socially prominent people and their families—both painted and in bronze—including ranchers and cattle breeders, oil men, university presidents, elected officials, and scientists, whose achievement, drive, inventiveness and humanity, he honored in his work. However, just as many of his portraits were of artists' models and people he met over the years. As an artist he found them all intriguing subjects, and liked to think of them first of all as friends.
The University of Texas, East Texas State University, the Amarillo Art Center, the City of Austin, the Texas Medical Center in Houston, and the State of Texas have some of his work. He helped restore the Elisabet Ney marble sculpture "Sursum," and assisted with restoration know-how at the British Museum for the "Portland Vase."
His work "Phoenix," a 20-foot bronze monument memorializing those who perished in the September 11, 2001 tragedy is viewable on Via Fortuna at the Austin offices of the Vinson and Elkins Law firm. The "Phoenix" was by private commission.
His fondest memories were of his young children, his greatest hopes rest in his grandchildren. He enjoyed visiting with old friends, feeding the deer each morning, and spending time with family.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road, in Austin on Sunday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers one may make a small donation in his memory to the Elisabet Ney Museum Fund at: www.austincf.org/elisabetneymuseum.