Shirley Rita Hawkins, age 85, of South Bend, formerly of Cassopolis, Michigan, died Friday, January 31, 2020 at Memorial (Beacon) Hospital, South Bend. Shirley was born November 23, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois to Dell Samuel Flowers and Violet Lillian Anderson Flowers. She married her husband of 57 years, E. Vincent Hawkins on July 14, 1956 in Chicago.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Vincent, and her only sister, Doris Flowers.
Shirley started out as a farm girl, spending her childhood on her parents' chicken, turkey, and hog farm in Jones, Michigan. However, she spent her high school years away from the farm at St. Francis de Sales High School in Castle Rock, Virginia. St. Francis was one of the first private/Catholic schools for African American girls in the United States. After graduating St. Francis, Shirley enrolled at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana. She met her husband Vincent, a Notre Dame student, off campus at a soirée given by African American professionals in the South Bend community. These soirees were held specifically for African American students at St. Mary's and Notre Dame. Vincent was a 1953 ND graduate.
Shirley had numerous passions: the well-being and activities of her children, grandchildren, niece, and nephew; socializing with her friends, especially Lois Hart, Elsie Randall, and Sylvia Kanczuzewski; shopping, gardening, Bid Whist, politics, and travel.
Shirley will be greatly missed by family and friends. She is survived by three daughters: Violet Hawkins, Ida Hawkins, and Carrie (Stephen) Smith, all of South Bend; two sons: Glen (Threasa) Hawkins of Kalamazoo and Patrick (Charmane) Hawkins of Lansing; 8 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and scores of beloved in-laws in the Washington, D.C. area.
Burial will take place at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery South Bend.
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