She was a proudly enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Her early childhood was spent on the Cherokee reservation. She was shy, humble, quiet, and hardworking with a feisty sense of humor and a stubborn streak of self-sufficiency. She met the love of her life, Bruce Hawkins, in high school and became his bride in college. Bruce and Betty were together for 71 years, only separated by his death just six weeks ago. They raised four children and built a wonderful life together. But she was so much more than these simple facts.
She was Mom to her children, and Nana to so many who loved her. Her children always knew they were loved. She told them every time they saw her. Her family was her priority, and her children never doubted their importance or how fiercely she would fight for them. She created a nurturing home and raised her children to be loving parents. She always set an example of dignity and refinement and her children strove to make her proud.
Later in life, Betty was known to all simply as Nana. Nana was renowned for her hospitality. She made everyone who ever visited feel comfortable and cherished. She welcomed friends and they became family. She embraced her family’s crazy ideas for parties and made it happen. Over the years, Nana cooked huge country breakfasts, made tons of her famous lasagna, and dished both out with love. After icy river tubing, she was waiting with warm towels. Nana celebrated our time together. She adored her grandchildren and doted on her great-grandchildren, believing them all to be exceptionally smart and beautiful.
Nana loved books, especially real, hardback books. She loved playing spades and was surprisingly competitive. She loved looking at the ocean. Sitting on the beach and reading was her happy place. She loved fresh fruit, hot coffee, milk chocolate and cold, sweet wine.
Above all, Betty loved her husband. She was devoted to him and to his care. For the last few years that was a pretty demanding task, but she never wavered. He loved her dearly and often said how lucky he was that she chose him. Their love was an inspiration to their children.
Nana was predeceased by her husband of 67 years, Bruce Hawkins; her son, Bruce Hugh Hawkins Jr.; her brother, Leonard Lambert and his wife Julia; and by sister-in-law, Ginger Lambert.
Left to cherish her memories are her daughter, Deborah(Keith) McManus; daughter-in-law, Vanessa (Hugh) Hawkins; son, Douglas (Susan) Hawkins; son, Roger (Denise) Hawkins; grandchildren, Ashley (Josh) Kelley, Chelsea (Andy) Harley, Ashley (Nathan) Burleson, Allison (Connor) Sisk, Haley Hawkins and fiancée J.P. Wilder, Caroline (Jordan) McCumbee, Hunter Hawkins and fiancée Melissa Kuhn, Tanner (Sarah) Hawkins, River Hawkins; and 12 great-grandchildren. Betty is also survived by siblings, Sibbald (Shirley) Lambert, Helen (Lewis) Harding, and Donald Lambert and many loving nieces and nephews. The family wants to express our most sincere love and appreciation to Susie Hedger, who lovingly assisted with Nana and Pappy’s care.
Funeral services were held on June 5 at First Baptist Church in Mt. Holly followed by internment at Hillcrest Gardens Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to The Hawkins Family Scholarship, c/o First Baptist Church, 300 South Main Street, Mt. Holly, NC 28120.