Marjorie Ruth Hawksworth
Marjorie R. Hawksworth, a major force in saving the Wilcox Property (now Douglas Preserve) as public open space, died Monday morning, September 8th. Marjorie also helped to preserve the Mesa Lane Eucalyptus trees. Facing a chronic lung condition, Marjorie, who had turned 86 in February, was someone who lived and died valiantly. Her four children – William, Wendy, Lauren, and Eric – were privileged to have had her love and support throughout their lives. And to be with her during her hospitalization, after a fall at home mid August, until her death. We thank her attending doctors, and her caregivers at Cottage Hospital and Mission Terrace. She died with dignity. We especially thank the Reverend Dr. Alan Strout, First United Methodist Church, who assisted her with her spiritual journey.
In addition to being an environmental advocate, Marjorie was a published poet, visual artist, teacher, and role model. She walked the walk not just talked it. She taught English at San Marcos High School for seventeen years and influenced the lives of many students. One of Marjorie’s innovations at San Marcos was a course in Pop Poetry. A Barnard College (Columbia University) graduate, Marjorie was born in North White Plains, New York, February 16th, 1922, to William and Eulalie Ullman (nee Beaird).
Marjorie met her husband, William Douglas Hawksworth, of Yorkshire, England, at a U.S.O. dance during World War II. He was in the British Merchant Marines, running convoys to Great Britain, and she was working in New York City. They married in May of 1946, settling in Santa Barbara ten years later. The couple’s older two children, William and Wendy, were born in White Plains, New York. Lauren and Eric were born locally at Cottage Hospital. Since 1957, the Hawksworth have had family homes on the Mesa. Marjorie’s son William designed and built two of these homes with Eric assisting. Marjorie’s husband, Bill, was at first a union housepainter, locally, and then the Business Agent and the Executive Secretary of the Painter and Decorator Union. Bill died of lung cancer at age 49 (1966) and Marjorie obtained a Secondary Teaching Credential from U.C. Santa Barbara, that same year, in order to support her children. She taught at San Marcos High School from 1967 to 1984.
During her retirement, Marjorie took up painting and exhibited with the Goleta Valley and Santa Barbara Art Associations. She also had solo shows of her work and a joint show at Antioch University with her daughter Lauren, also a talented painter.
As a poet, Marjorie was published in journals and magazines such as Poetry Northwest, The New York Quarterly, and The Paris Review. In the 1970s she was awarded the Emily Dickinson Award by the Poetry Society of America. More recently, she was honored by the Arts Fund of Santa Barbara with an Individual Artist Award in Poetry, in 2005. She gave a public reading in conjunction with this award in January of 2006 and continued to submit poems for publication up until her hospitalization.
One of Marjorie’s favorite poets was Gerard Manley Hopkins, whose works she could recite from memory. “Glory be to God for dappled things. . He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him.”
Marjorie’s graveside service was September 12th at 1:30pm at the Santa Barbara Cemetery, with the First United Methodist Church officiating. A reception followed.