Rockport, MA — Jean Kindlund Hawkes, of Rockport, avid gardener, tennis player and champion of social causes, died Monday, June 24, at home after a brief illness. She was 90.
The wife of the late William S. Hawkes, she and her husband lived in Magnolia for 50 years, where they raised their four children. The couple moved to Rockport in 2001 and lived there for the remainder of their lives.
Born in Boston, Mass., on January 19, 1923, she was raised in both Cambridge and Scituate. After attending Scituate High School for three years, she graduated from Braintree's Thayer Academy, class of 1940. From Thayer, she attended Duke University for two years and then transferred to Connecticut College in New London, graduating in 1944.
After her college graduation, Mrs. Hawkes briefly worked for the Harvard Business School as a research associate. However, she found her true professional interest when she joined Filene's department store where she became the lead advertising copywriter and designer for the store's couture shop. In that role, Mrs. Hawkes also modeled clothes for the store's fashion events. Her most notable assignment was to model summer fashions on the first flight from Boston to Bermuda, which included such local dignitaries as the then Massachusetts governor and the mayor of Boston. She stopped working at Filene's before her first baby was born in 1950.
An admirer of all things beautiful, in addition to clothes, Mrs. Hawkes loved flowers. For both her Magnolia and Rockport homes, she spent most of the warm weather planting and maintaining her gardens and derived great pleasure doing all of the work herself, even right up to her illness. She was always physically active, with tennis as a driving interest in her life, not quitting until she was 86.
Mrs. Hawkes was also a social activist. As a younger woman, she was very involved in the Gloucester community, whether campaigning for local politicians or working on the drive in the 1960s to make Gloucester's West End an historic district. During the political conservatism of the 1950s and early 1960s, Mrs. Hawkes was a vocal opponent of the John Birch Society, an archconservative political advocacy group. Her interest in politics never waned when, even in her last days, she opined on the current Massachusetts senatorial race and the scandal concerning the administration's digital surveillance program. A breast cancer survivor from the early 1970s, Mrs. Hawkes also volunteered for the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery Program, meeting with new breast cancer patients and modeling clothes flattering for women who had undergone the radical mastectomies typical of breast cancer treatment at that time.