Gene and Nell Hawkins

As a boy, Wallace Eugene Hawkins helped his father Will Hawkins with farm work and the farm animals. Occasionally, they were hired by a Fox Mountain farmer to work the mountain road. During the 1930’s, when the convicts were brought to Dade to build a road across Lookout Mountain, Gene hauled personnel and materials for the construction. Then he joined the railway maintenance crew that maintained the railroad in the Rising Fawn, Cloverdale and Battelle areas. Gene walked to and from work. After about ten years with the railroad, he was called up by the US Army in 1943. He served in Wisconsin as a guard of German prisoners and at a Huntsville, Alabama hospital. In January 1946, he was discharged, returned to Rising Fawn, his family and his wife. In addition to a part-time job of driving Doc Middleton to house calls, Gene landed a job with the Peerless Woolen Mill in Rossville. After his first child was born, he moved to the Rossville Boulevard area of Chattanooga. He returned to Rising Fawn and in 1951 was employed by Sherman & Reilly, where he worked for 31 years as a machinist and tool and die maker. At 66, he retired and spent his last ten years at home along Cloverdale Road, gardening and enjoying time with his friends, wife, three children and five grandchildren. Gene lived from January 13, 1916 until October 25, 1992 as a wonderful, honest, hard-working man and a true Southern gentleman.

Virginia Ivanell Wofford (February 10, 1924 – December 3, 1991) was married to Gene on September 25, 1939. Nell was involved in the home economics program as a teenager and worked outside the home when work did not interfere with her primary role of wife and mother. Prior to retirement, she was a cashier for Red Food Store in Trenton. Nell was active in Cloverdale Baptist Church as an adult as she had been at Rising Fawn as a youth. Her father had been a sharecropper from Chattooga County whose cycle through DeKalb (AL) and Dade counties cost him three daughters by marriages, Evelyn to Lester Blevins, Nell to Gene and Rita to Wilburn Phillips. The fourth daughter, Betty, and four of five sons, Paul, Jack, Gordon and Ronnie Martin settled for a time near Summerville.

Will Hawkins was married to Ida Cochran. Their eight children were born during the * 10’s, ’20’s and ’30’s. Susie married and moved to Etowah County (AL), Lela married Melvin Chadwick of Sulphur Springs, Carl married Gertrude Beckham of Cloverdale, Pauline married Henry Spencer who was in Dade road maintenance for years, Inez married, became a LPN and lived in Nashville and Orlando before retiring to Dade, Bill served in the US Navy during the Korean War and later moved to Chicago before returning home, and Louise and her husband James Donald Chadwick live in Trenton where they have been employed at Moore Funeral Home since Donald’s retirement after welding at Combustion Engineering for more than thirty years.

Gene and Nell’s children are Linda, Douglas Eugene and Jimmy Frank. Linda married Dion Bradford in 1965 and succeeded Verenice Cooper Hawkins as nursing manager of the Dade County Health Department. Their son Bruce is married to Deborah Lucek and resides in Cleveland, Tennessee. Doug married Lynn Adkins and lives in the county with their son Billy Douglas and near their daughter Jeannie Rebecca Hawkins Flynn, wife of Kevin Flynn. Jim and his children, Cynthia Denise and Jimmy Dale, all reside in Dade. Jim is a machinist at US Pipe & Foundry; Doug is a journeyman in maintenance at Mueller in Chattanooga. Jeannie is employed as a dental assistant.

  1. Crystal O'Dell Morrison

    I remember Gene and Nell….Going to their house with Jim and Charlotte and Cindy and Jimmy Dale….Climbing in their mermosa (what Daddy always called them) trees in the yard and playing in the woods behind their house…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: