In Memory

Diane Tingle (Hawkins)

Written by Joe Johnson of Kensington, GA on Facebook: Diane Hawkins can only be described as a force of nature. Whenever she walked into a room she commanded it. People might have first been taken by her stunning physical beauty, but they would quickly come to know the inner beauty she possessed. Diane was highly inquisitive and intelligent, and could hold conversations on virtually any topic. She was also a great listener, and people knew that she truly cared about what they had to say. Diane had an effervescent personality and zest for life, which she demonstrated through her many passions that included painting, gardening, decorating and countless other pursuits. She was always planning projects to take on, and would often implement them simultaneously or begin new ones before others had been completed. Diane was athletic as a young woman, using surfing, dancing and other activities as outlets for her abundant store of energy. She actually was a very accomplished dancer and was an instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Diane was also extremely creative and leaves behind beautiful paintings and other artwork. She and her mother, Christine, loved to make dolls and once ran a shop called the Briar Patch to sell the dolls they made. She also was a florist and was well known for her beautiful arrangements. She was also an accomplished seamstress, first making clothing for herself and later for her children. Diane wasn’t just passionate, but compassionate. She demonstrated this by dedicating her life to serving people with behavioral and developmental disabilities. And in her personal life, she would never hesitate to offer her assistance when learning that someone was in trouble or in need. Of all the lives Diane touched, she had the greatest impact on a young man named Dennis Hawkins. After moving with her family to Florida where her father, Earl, had taken on a new job, she would occasionally make trips back to the Augusta area where she lived most of her life. On one of these trips she went to the Partridge Inn, a popular Augusta nightspot where she caught Dennis’ eye. He was immediately smitten with this vivacious young woman. Shortly after they met, Diane was in an accident in which her car was rammed by a truck, sending her to the hospital with a concussion. Dennis was frantic to be with his newfound love, but he was not allowed to visit her in the hospital because he was not family. That did not stop him, however. He devised a scheme in which borrowed a doctor’s unattended white coat, draped a stethoscope around his neck and made his way to Diane’s room as though he belonged. And he did belong there, by Diane’s side. They were meant to be together and would remain so the next four decades. Next month, on May 17, is their 44th wedding anniversary. Diane and Dennis soon married, and not long afterward had their first child, Dawn. Several years later the Hawkins family grew a little more with the birth of Dustin. Then one day Dennis called Diane to let her know that a coworker told him about someone who was looking to literally give away a child. Diane knew someone who would be interested in adopting the 18-month-old girl, but after spending a short amount of time with Pamela, Diane let Dennis know that they would be having another daughter. Pam, who Diane affectionately called Moonpie Beam, was adopted and lovingly raised by Diane and Dennis as though she were their own flesh and blood. Family was always the most important thing to Diane. She made all of her children’s milestones in life special occasion that they would always treasure. She always had the right words for them to help them through difficult times. Diane was there for the births of all her grandchildren, and from thereafter loved them dearly and remained an integral part of their lives. She traveled long distances to be at Abigail’s dance recitals and birthday parties for Hope and Ian. She always affectionately called her oldest grandson, Andrew, her Darling, and as a child Andrew would call her Darlin’ in return. The name stuck and she would henceforth be known as Darlin’ to all of her grand kids. Diane put much thought and care into making holiday’s special for her family. The decorations around her house were so joyous and tastefully done, not to mention all of the food she would prepare. That made Darlins’ THE place to be for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. Just a few short days ago, Diane spent her last moments on Earth doing what she loved best, working in her yard and gardens to make sure everything looked just right for when the family gathered for Easter dinner and the kids embarked on an egg hunt. This past Sunday the egg hunt went on just as always. It was a beautiful day, like many Easter Sundays that preceded it. Even though Diane’s loved ones were heavy-hearted from their sudden and unexpected loss, they took comfort knowing that she was smiling down on them from Heaven, feeling their love for her and loving each other as she would expect.