ONTONAGON, Mich. — John H. “Jack” Hawley, 86, passed away June 12, 2014, at his home in Ontonagon, with his children at his side.
Jack was the eldest of three sons born to Edwin “Ned” and Florence “Vie” Hawley. He was born in Hancock on Jan. 12, 1928, and raised in Ontonagon, graduating from Ontonagon High School in 1945.
He served in the U.S. Maritime Service 1945-1946, then worked briefly at Hawley Lumber Company before enlisting in the U.S. Army in September 1946. After serving in Korea, Jack was honorably discharged in 1948. He then enrolled at Michigan State University.
While a student, he married his sweetheart, Eleanor Roehm, started a family and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1952. He and the family moved back to Ontonagon, where he began his career in the retail lumber business. In 1965, he became the small business management consultant with the Upper Peninsula Commission on Area Progress before returning to Hawley Lumber Company as owner and president. He never completely retired and continued to help with operations as long as his health allowed.
Jack gave back to the community in many ways. He was a longtime member of the Ontonagon-White Pine Rotary Club, serving a term as president. He also belonged to the Ontonagon Lions Club and served as King Lion. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the VFW. Jack was a director on the boards of the First National Bank, Gitche Gumee Oil Company and the Wisconsin Retail Lumberman’s Association and was president of the Cloverland Retail Lumberman’s Club.
Providing quality schools for the Ontonagon community was a passion and he was proud to have served both as president and treasurer on the school board. It was during his tenure that Ontonagon, Rockland and Greenland (Mass Schools) townships formed the existing combined school district and went on to raise the funds to finance a new $2 million high school. Jack was also elected to the office of Ontonagon Township supervisor and served in that capacity for several years.
Jack is survived by two children, Kathleen (Jim) Hainault, of Chassell, and John (Geri) Hawley, of Ontonagon; a granddaughter, Jennifer (Brian) Pera, of Hancock; grandsons, Michael (Brandi) Hainault, of Houghton, Kyle Hawley, of Detroit, and U.S. Marine Cpl. Eric Hawley, currently serving in Bahrain; four great-grandchildren, Alex Pera and Ethan, Ellie and Emmett Hainault; brother-in-law, Tom Roehm; sisters-in-law, Cecilia (Patrick) Hawley and Jane (Michael) Hawley; cousin, Thomas John Hawley; and numerous nieces and nephews.
After 56 years of marriage, Jack’s best friend and wife, Eleanor, passed away in 2006. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Ned and Vie; two brothers, Pat and Michael; and a sister-in-law, Dorothy (Tom) Roehm.
Jack was a kind and gentle person. He loved life and family and always saw the positive in all things and people. He had an easy way that allowed him to make friends with strangers of all ages in short order, a trait that served him well when waiting for Eleanor to finish shopping. He had a great sense of humor and loved telling and listening to stories about the culture and characters from Ontonagon’s early days. These wonderful conversations often took place during happy hour at the Hawley cottages on Duck Creek during family get-togethers. He also enjoyed the times spent at Camp Ponderosa, especially the fire danger assessment trips to Hoppy’s in Kenton with his good friend Tony Domitrovich.
Funeral services will be held Friday, June 20, at 11 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in Ontonagon. Visitation will be Thursday, June 19, from 6-8 p.m ., with rosary at 7:30, at the Cane Funeral Home in Ontonagon, as well as at the church one hour before the funeral service.
Burial will follow at the Riverside Cemetery.
The Cane Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Memorials may be given to the American Cancer Society or the charity of your choice.
The family of Jack Hawley wishes to express our sincere thanks to Aspirus Hospice and Lucy Schuster for the kind and loving care provided to Jack and to his many friends who visited and comforted him during his illness.
Friends may view Jack’s obituary and leave messages of remembrance at canefuneralhome.com.