Obituary: Donald Keene Hawes, long-time resident, WW II veteran
Donald Keene Hawes, 93, longtime resident of Darien and New Canaan, passed away peacefully at home on April 15. He was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in nearby Montclair. He graduated from College High School, a demonstration school of Montclair State Teachers College in 1940, and Principia College in Elsah, Illinois in 1943. He was a naval officer in the South Pacific in World War II, serving on the submarine USS Guitarro. He is probably the last survivor of the submarine that was the first to encounter and report the location of the large enemy naval force en route to the Leyte Gulf where a great part of it was destroyed in one of the epic naval battles in history. His skipper was awarded three separate Navy crosses while commanding the Guitarro, including one for that trip. Once during a crisis, through Mr. Hawes’ quick thinking, he saved the ship from sinking.
Following his service in World War II, he began a long career in the energy resources business, initially serving as Secretary with Union Texas Oil and Gas in Houston. Later he worked for Mobil Chemical in New York City, which brought him to Darien where he and his wife, Grace, raised their four children. He later served in the Federal Energy Administration (which later became the Department of Energy) in the Carter Administration. He served as Assistant Treasurer at the international headquarters of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. Later he was an energy consultant with Equitable Life Insurance Co. in New York.
Mr. Hawes was an early and ardent supporter of insurance companies keeping clients healthier longer through an intelligent lifestyle with exercise, wise diet, etc., encouraged by employers and the insurance companies. An outstanding athlete, he was an avid tennis player throughout his life and enjoyed the company of his fellow members of the New Canaan Senior Men’s Club. He was a longtime member of Wee Burn Country Club.
His love of life, good humor, and caring spirit made him a good friend to many, influencing and inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds. He served his church, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Darien, in many capacities, and was an inspiring Sunday School teacher devoted to his students.
Mr. Hawes was a devoted father and very proud of his children. He was much loved and will be greatly missed by his family and friends, and many others whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 19 years, Joyce, his brother Douglas and sister-in-law Claudie, of Paris, France, his sons Kenneth of Sudbury, Massachusetts, Christopher of Portland, Oregon, David of Darien, and their spouses, his daughter Barbara of New Haven, five grandsons and three great-grandsons. He was predeceased by his wife, Grace.
Services will be private. Memorial donations in his memory be made to Save the Children, Person-to-Person, or First Church of Christ, Scientist, Darien.