COOLIDGE — Thomas Alva Hawkins, 88, a longtime high school coach who won three state championships and other honors, died on July 29, 2013, in the White Mountains, surrounded by his wife and children.
Mr. Hawkins, known as Alva and also Alvie, was born on May 1, 1925, to Lee and Zella Hawkins in Olustee, Okla. He attended school in Weatherford, Okla., and graduated from Weatherford High School. In 1943 he was drafted into the Army and served in the South Pacific for more than two years as an Infantryman. After World War II ended, he was sent to Japan for 18 months and put in charge of battalion sports. After his honorable discharge, he returned to Weatherford and married his high school sweetheart, Merna Faye True, in 1947. With the help of the GI Bill, he attended Southwestern State Teachers College in Weatherford and played on a conference championship football team in 1950. He earned a bachelor of education degree in 1951 and also a master’s degree in 1962.
He taught and coached in Mangum, Okla., from 1951 to 1961 and then settled in Coolidge, where he taught and coached for more than 28 years. He coached back-to-back football state championship teams in 1967 and 1968 with a 24-game winning streak and one track state championship team in 1969. He was selected as the 1967 Class A All-Star football coach and Class A South Coach of the Year for 1968 and 1971-72. He also received the Tucson Conquistadores Team of the Year award in 1969.
He was active in the community as a member of Coolidge-Florence Elks Lodge, Lions, American Legion Post 54 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3713.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years; three sons, Curtis Hawkins of Kanab, Utah, Kent Hawkins of Gilbert and Steve Hawkins of Casa Grande; a daughter, Dana Hoover of Coolidge; two brothers, Odell Hawkins of Nashville, Tenn., and Jerry Hawkins of Weatherford; 10 grandchildren; and 35 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by two granddaughters.
The service will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Coolidge Performing Arts Center, with visitation on Friday evening from 5 to 8 at Heritage Coolidge Funeral Home.