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Carl Willard Hawker, 87, of Manchester, Iowa, passed away on Saturday, January 12, 2019, from aggressive pancreatic cancer while surrounded by his loving family at the Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha. Born in Ryan on September 22, 1931, to Carl and Hazel (Tudor) Hawker, Willard grew up exploring every inch of Delaware County and Eastern Iowa. Willard’s life exemplified service to his community. He served his country honorably as a U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant in combat action during the height of the Korean War. Willard also took part in the first nuclear tests in the Nevada desert as a radiation technician.
After his military service, Willard returned home to marry Marcia McKeag, his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life. Through 64 years of marriage, Willard and Marcia raised three children, Michael, Douglas, and Steven, who blessed them with four grandchildren, Sara, Ryan, Tyler, and Courtney, as well as six great-grandchildren. Most people knew Willard from his many years as the owner of Hawker’s Sporting Goods in Manchester, where he and Marcia worked many long hours making many great friends and sharing many great memories. For more than three decades, their store attracted sportsmen from all around the world.
Willard served his community with the greatest admiration for nature and a dedication to benefit future generations. After the great Dutch Elm disease of the 1960s, Willard personally replanted most all of the trees Manchester enjoys today along the major streets, in Tirrill Park, and throughout the town. Willard purchased the Old Quaker Mill dam in the mid-1980s, first preserving a historical site, and ultimately donating the property to the Delaware County Conservation Board to be converted into an extension of Manchester’s superb canoeing and kayaking park. In addition, as the Chairman of the Board of Oakland Cemetery, Willard took pride in ensuring the development, upkeep, and beauty of the cemetery.
Willard was an accomplished pilot and was instrumental in developing the Manchester airport, where he and Marcia kept a treasured Cessna 172 for many years. He was a long-time member of the Quiet Birdmen fraternity of pilots.
An avid hunter, fisherman, and conservationist, Willard lived for the next great adventure. For many years, he was joined by special friends and family as he traveled to Alaska in the summer to fish salmon and halibut and to Colorado in the fall to hunt elk. Willard landed his largest halibut in 2004 that weighed in at 175 pounds, his most prized catch. Willard passed on his love of the outdoors to his sons and grandchildren, assuring that his legacy will live on for decades to come.
Willard will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and community leader. Willard lived every day to move the world just one step forward. He accomplished that in strides. His remarkable impact on the world will be felt forever.
Willard is survived by his wife, Marcia; three sons, Michael (Carol) Hawker of Anchorage, Alaska, Douglas (Diane) Hawker of Manchester, and Steven (Sheri) Hawker of Fort Collins, Colorado; four grandchildren, Sara Breckenfelder, Ryan Hawker, Tyler Hawker, and Courtney Hawker; six great-grandchildren; a brother, Wallace (Mary Lou) Hawker of Manchester; and a sister, Marlene Swanson of California.
Willard was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Oakland Cemetery in Manchester.