Brooklyn, New York - Gilbert Harold Hawkins, 82, died Thursday, November 14, 2019 at his residence unexpectedly of complications of hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
In February 1937 in Colon, Republic of Panama, Gilbert Harold Hawkins was born to Mabel Millington and Caieto Hawkins. The eldest of seven, Gilbert was a smart industrious boy who saw obstacles, set goals and then exceeded and surpassed any limitations set before him.
One of those scenarios was his long-term goal of emigrating to the United States to begin the fabled American Dream. Gilbert is the embodiment of that. After graduating from Colegio Abel Bravo in 1957, he worked hard enough to sponsor himself to New York, soon thereafter becoming a U.S. citizen. More hard work, the longest of which were his positions within NYU Medical Center and Merrill Lynch Financial, afforded him the backdrop to the dream. He married and brought over his wife Carmen. They raised, educated and gave the spiritual foundation for their children Karen and Rodney.
Quietly Gilbert was the foundation of an extended Hawkins family that often looked to him for guidance and support, temporally and spiritually. He has said, "If you need an answer, stop looking to those self-help books and READ YOUR BIBLE." A lot of his humor also came from the jokes he shared through the eyes of his spiritual leaders.
He loved baseball. Many a day as a boy and teen in Colon, he got in trouble for failing to come off the field as shortstop to run an errand for his father or Aunt Missis who raised him from early childhood. In Gilly's early grandpa days, he would make a weekend trip if the result was only to see his grandson's little league game. Gilbert enjoyed many other sports as a fan spectator - from the Giants to the Yankees and the Knicks and Nets (and his original favorite team from childhood in Colon - the Dodgers), and never gave up on them whatever their results.
Gilbert also loved his homeland Panama, never forgetting his compadres and reminiscing whether here in the U.S. on the streets of Brooklyn, or a coincidental reconnection at the local barbershop, or at an event or trip within the Panamanian community, or at church with congregants from his hometown or former Abel Bravo students from Colon.
Gilly retired in 2000 after 33 years with NYU Medical Center in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department. In those years, he took up jogging, then running and even ran a few half marathons as part of an NYU Team. Once retired, he made time to travel and was able to see alot of the eastern seaboard, eastern Canada and Midwest up to the Ohio River. But don't look for him on a plane; he wanted to see the sights, but catch him on a train or a bus or a boat!
After 82 years, God decided Gilly's work was done and called home one of his favorite sons on November 14, 2019. Gilbert is survived by his wife of 55 years Carmen; daughter Karen; son Rodney; grandchildren: Taylor and Lauren; great- grandchildren: Christian, Landen, Alivea and Tahla; surviving siblings: Gertrude Clarke, Gloria Hawkins, Armando Hawkins, Idania White, and Lydia Warren; as well as over a dozen nieces and nephews, and many more great-nieces, great-nephews, other relatives and friends.
Gilbert celebrated life. Keeping with his philosophy that no one should go hungry, in lieu of flowers, the Hawkins Family asks that donations be made to local Food Banks in his name in the community and of the donor’s choice.
To plant a tree in memory of Gilbert Harold Hawkins, please visit our tribute store.