The Honorable Life of Harland Maynard Hawley
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1929 - 2019
Harland Maynard Hawley of Independence, Missouri, passed away on January 7th, 2019, at age 89. Born February 20, 1929, in Oakland, California, to parents Gerald and Viola Hawley, Harland was one of three siblings. When he was a youngster, his older sister Darith nicknamed him “Hunk” because he carried a few extra pounds. While he eventually grew tall and lean, the nickname stuck, and he was affectionately referred to as such by members of his immediate family for many years. He would, however, introduce himself as Bob, the name he preferred over Harland.
Bob Hawley was a man of great character. He served his family and community honorably as a husband, father, church pastor, entrepreneur, and a principal in the recovery of the sunken 1856 steamboat Arabia. Considered a national treasure, the Arabia’s collection of more than 200 tons of recovered artifacts is displayed in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Arabia Steamboat Museum and stands as a lasting legacy of the determination and self-confidence for which Bob Hawley was so well known.
His gentle and kind demeanor was magnetic. He was a perceptive and thoughtful man whose wise council was highly regarded. Clever in the way of mechanical ingenuity, he was able to build or repair most any piece of equipment and made his living doing just that. To provide for his young and growing family, he began working from the trunk of the family auto repairing refrigeration equipment to supplement his income from his employment as a tool and dye maker. Within a few years, he was able to buy a work truck and proudly placed a sign in the front yard of his home, advertising his repair business. To this day, the Hawley Service Company sign stands at the end of his long, shaded driveway for passersby along the blacktop road to see.
Bob Hawley was a man who loved the adventure of the outdoors. He honored the grip of an honest handshake, content to work all day for a fair wage, and quick to give of his abundance to his church and those in need. With the realization that he was experiencing symptoms of the fatal ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Bob continued to set a strong and unwavering example to all who attended his personal care throughout his final chapter of life.
He was preceded in death by his son, Greg L. Hawley, who passed in January 2009. Bob Hawley is survived by his wife, Florence Hawley, son, David Hawley, and daughter, Rita Scherer, their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
For those who knew him, this passage goes a long way in describing the life and character of Bob Hawley: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”