James "Jim" Hawkins
James Herbert "Jim" Hawkins, 84, fondly recognized as "my principal" by the students of Vineland Elementary School in DeSoto, Mo., from 1977 to 1992, passed away Christmas morning, 2015, surrounded by family, at his home in Springfield, Mo.
He was born to Herbert and Zilpah (Davis) Hawkins on August 19, 1931, in Jonesboro, Ark. Raised in Rector and Piggott, he was first born of four children-- Jim, Julia, Joe and Jean. He attended Piggott High and was class president in his senior year.
Always attracted to the outdoors and adventure, after graduating from Piggott High School in 1949, he hitchhiked to Idaho to work in forest conservation.
Upon his return from this first of many adventures, he was married to his high school sweetheart, JoAnn Morris, on Dec. 30, 1950, a love story that spanned 64 years and 360 days.
Jim enlisted in the Army in 1949 and was promoted through the ranks to Master Sergeant. He graduated from University of Arkansas in 1955 with a degree in Entomology. He later began working for Texas A&M as an extension entomologist, a job that took him to every county in the state.
Later, Jim and JoAnn, with their three children, Michael, Byron and Shannon, returned to Arkansas, where Jim finished a master's degree in elementary education. He began first as a sixth grade teacher in Corning, and later worked as
an elementary principal in DeSoto, Mo. While in Corning, Kenny Sisson joined our family. Jim and JoAnn have eight grandchildren and seven great-grand children.
Jim used his summer breaks to motorcycle across the west, raft the Colorado River, hike the Appalachian Trail, and canoe the waters of his beloved Current River. For his 75th birthday, he made his first parachute jump.
Memorial services, with Landon Saunders officiating, will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at East Sunshine Church of Christ, 3721 East Sunshine Street, in Springfield Mo.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations to Project Well-Being, a non-profit organization that helps poor women start businesses and lift themselves from poverty. A link for donating to this good cause can be found