Richard Hawkins, 74

Richard D. “Hoss” Hawkins, 74, of South Whitley, died Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Winter Haven, Fla. where he resided during the winter months. He had been in failing health.He was born Aug. 29, 1938, in New Philadelphia, Ohio, a son of the late Clarence Dean and Elizabeth (Hootman) Hawkins. He spent his formative years in New Philadelphia. On Oct. 12, 1961, he entered the U.S. Army. He became a heavy equipment operator and served during the Cuban Missile Crisis. On Jan. 26, 1968, he was united in marriage to Marta V. Stephens. They made their home in Pierceton for two years, Plymouth for three years, and then Port Washington, Ohio, before moving to rural South Whitley in 1979.He began his career as a heavy equipment operator. After moving to South Whitley, he was the owner/operator of R&M Welding and operated his own trucking company.He was an avid sprint car racing fan, sponsoring drivers and teams over the years. He enjoyed following the sprint car circuit in his RV. He also enjoyed traveling with his family.He was a former member of the VFW Post in North Manchester, Fraternal Order of Eagles and Cleveland Township Volunteer Fire Department.Surviving relatives include his wife of 45 years, Marta; two daughters, Connie (Daniel Clifford) Hawkins of Larwill and Karen A. Hawkins of Columbia City; a grandson, Clifford R. Hawkins and two sisters, Barbara A. (William) Ellwood and Judy E. Cochran, both of New Philadelphia, Ohio.The funeral service is 10 a.m. Saturday at Smith & Sons Miller Chapel, South Whitley with Rev. James Clifford officiating. Visitation is 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.Preferred memorials are to the Cleveland Township Fire Department.Condolences may be sent to