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Bud Hawk: Memorial focuses on hero’s life after war

An Honor Guard prepares a flag for John “Bud” Hawk’s daughter Monday during a memorial service at the fairgrounds.  - Kevan Moore
An Honor Guard prepares a flag for John “Bud” Hawk’s daughter Monday during a memorial service at the fairgrounds.
— image credit: Kevan Moore

 

That, of course, stands for “Sweet Old Bud.”

Friends and family members remembered Hawk at a large memorial service at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Pavilion Monday afternoon. In addition, several dignitaries were at the ceremony, including fellow Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter, Governor Jay Inslee, Congressman Derek Kilmer and others.

Several speakers talked about Hawk’s life after the war. Many of them focused on his passion for teaching and education.

Vicki Barton was one of Hawk’s fifth-grade students and he inspired her to become a teacher. She eventually worked at Brownsville while Hawk was the principal there, fulfilling one of her dreams.

“I walked into his classroom shaking in my saddle shoes because he fought

in World War II and he had medals to prove it,” Barton said. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that my new teacher was one who truly liked kids. He loved to teach and we loved going to school every day.”

Barton said Hawk didn’t like to talk about his heroic actions or being called a hero.

“But he’d kid around with us about being bald — a bullet blew off his helmet and scared his hair away,” she said.

Barton also noted that Hawk told her and others that, “winning the medal of hono

r was not the correct phrase. He told us that he was the recipient of the medal. And then he’d add, there are no winners in war.”

Ann Lowrie, one of Hawk’s former assistant principals, also spoke at the memorial service.

“Bud was a hero, not just in the army, but in education,” she said. “Just ask any of his for

mer students and colleagues; they’ll tell you, ‘Mr. Hawk was my hero.’”

Another former student of Hawk’s at Brownsville, Ward Scott, who went on to be a lifelong friend, also spoke at Monday’s memorial.

“You know, his medal deserved respect,” Ward said. “But, when you got to know him, it was his character that earned that respect.”

Scott described Hawk as a teacher, a mentor and a friend.

“When you wrap up the whole package, he was sort of like having a second dad,” Ward said, before thanking Hawk’s children Mark Hawk and Marilyn Harrelson for sharing their dad with students and educators.

Many other speakers talked about Hawk’s love of chopping wood, driving in his truck with country music blaring and fishing.

Hawk was born May 30, 1924, in San Francisco. He graduated from Bainbridge Island High School in June of 1943 and joined the Uw.S. Army just two weeks later. He was assigned to the 2n

d Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry.

For his heroic actions on Aug. 20, 1944, around Chambois, France, Hawk earned the Medal of Honor. He also earned four Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, Distinguished Conduct Medal from the United Kingdom and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor.

Returning to Kitsap County, he was treated to a parade in his honor which initiated what is now known as the Armed Forces Day Parade. He enrolled at Olympic College to go about earning his teaching certificate before transferring to the University of Washington.

He began his career at Tracyton Elementary and eventually transferred to Brownsville Elementary and soon became the school’s principal. He went on to open Woodlands Elementary and became its first principal. He retired in 1983 after 31 years.

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