It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Edward “Eddie” Frank Hawkins on March 31, 2023 at the age of 76. He passed away peacefully at home in his sleep. Predeceased by his parents Mary (Birx) and Edward Hawkins Sr., and his cousins Lyndia Bianchi and Mary Rose Bianchi. Survived by his younger sister Ann (Hawkins) Grimm, his son and daughter-in-law Patrick Hawkins and Lola Nemirovsky, his step-grandsons Aaron and Brian Shneydman, his ex-wife Margaret (O’Brien) McNeil and her children Jenny (McNeil) Montvitt and Brian McNeil, by his cousins Louis Bianchi, Ronnie Bianchi, Erika (Bianchi) and Mark Atkinson, Scott Bianchi and Stacey Fuller-Bianchi, Nicholas Atkinson, Lewis Atkinson, Jane Atkinson, Ryan Bianchi, Allie Bianchi, Debbie Bianchi, Julie Bianchi Macartney, and many other nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Eddie was born on August 7, 1946 in Rochester, NY. He spent much of his early childhood at his grandparents’ cottage in Canandaigua, NY, with his primary residence being in Rochester, NY. Eddie attended St. Ambrose Church grammar school through the 8th grade. Upon graduating from St. Ambrose, he continued his high school education at Aquinas Institute of Rochester, graduating from Aquinas in 1964. While at Aquinas, he was a member of their marching band, playing both the trumpet and the French horn. His marching band won the state championship and, with Eddie in participation, made an appearance at the NYC Thanksgiving Macy’s Day Parade. After graduating from Aquinas, he continued his formal education first at Monroe Community College, then proceeded on to St. John Fisher College for a year, before completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Biology at the University of Rochester in 1970.
In 1965, Eddie was introduced to the love of his life by both of their mothers. The matchmaking was a success, and he married his sweetheart, Margaret “Maggie” O’Brien in 1968. On April 28, 1971, they welcomed their son and only child, Patrick Edward Hawkins.
Always a patriot and a lover of our great country, Eddie joined the Navy as a Medical Corpsman in 1971 to support the Vietnam War effort. During his time in the Navy, Eddie and his young family were stationed at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston, MA, then Eddie alone at Fort Monmouth, NJ, until Maggie and Patrick rejoined him at Asbury Park, NJ for the duration of his service at Fort Monmouth. He left active service in 1975.
After leaving the military, Eddie and his family relocated back to Rochester, NY. He then entered a new chapter in his life by establishing his own landscaping business, which he successfully ran with the help of his son until 2007. In addition to running his landscaping business, for 10 years from 1997 to 2007, Eddie also worked as a beloved and highly respected Certified Nurse Aide at St. Ann’s Community Nursing Home in Rochester, NY.
In 1978, Eddie and Maggie amicably divorced, and Maggie moved back to Boston with their young son. At the age of 13, Eddie’s son, Patrick, moved back to Rochester to live with Eddie. He then carried on the tradition of graduating from St. Ambrose Church grammar school and then from Aquinas High School.
Over the years, Eddie maintained a very close relationship with Maggie. This deep friendship and mutual affection lasted until his passing. Their love for each other eclipsed the circumstances of life, the span of time, and the distance between them.
Eddie and his son Patrick had an incredibly close relationship. They were two peas in a pod. In 2007, Eddie’s health took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worst, and he moved in with Patrick. Eddie remained under Patrick’s roof and under his ever-loving care until Eddie’s passing.
Eddie was known for his energy, his exuberant nature, and for his love of people, plants and animals. He was ever the jokester, with a propensity for lighthearted mischief. He loved a good joke and to share his comedic nature with anyone who would listen. He had a beautiful singing voice and belonged to The Rochester Oratorio Society, including singing back-up with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He greatly enjoyed the arts, music, the theater, and loved to share his knowledge with others.
Eddie was a hard worker with a great work ethic. During his time in landscaping, he tried hard to instill these values in all those who worked for him. Eddie gave many people opportunities for work who may have had a difficult time finding employment otherwise. He believed in second chances and giving people opportunities to change their lives for the better. Through his efforts, he maintained life long friendships with several of these individuals.
Above all else, Eddie will be remembered for his beautiful, selfless heart. He was a soft-spoken gentleman with a gentle soul. Always kind, gracious, and with a smile on his face, he quickly endeared himself to anyone he met.
Eddie will be cremated through Rochester Cremation. A Catholic Funeral Mass will be held for Eddie on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 11:00AM at St. Ambrose Church located at 25 Empire Blvd, Rochester, NY, 14609. A luncheon reception celebrating Eddie’s life will be held immediately following the Funeral Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church, located at 553 Humboldt Street, Rochester, NY 14610. All wishing to pay their respects are welcome to attend both the Funeral Mass and the luncheon to follow. Eddie loved attention!
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a small donation to either the Seneca Park Zoo or to Highland Park Conservatory. Both organizations were very near and dear to Eddie’s heart.
Eddie was a huge part of our lives on Colonial Road. We talking many hours of how to trim our 75 bushes in our bark yard, as well as what flowers to plant. Eddie was always laughing and making others chuckle as well. He was so caring and such a family man. We will miss Eddie so much. What a loss to all of us. Gone to soon. Xoxo to all family members.
Thank you so much, Stacey! You are so blessed to have such memories of Eddie! I’m sure he heard your words! Love you!
Eddie was an amazing person. Through out my whole life he was kind and loving. He went out of his way to make people smile. He was a great conversationalist. He was knowledgeable about so many things and overall a fun person to be around. He is loved and will be missed by so many.
May his memory be eternal.
Thank you, Jenny! Beautiful memories! He loved you guys! ❤️
As a teenager, I met Eddie as he courted my sister in a sporty Corvair. He was kind, gentle and fun loving. Physically very strong from his landscaping work and always willing to help out. The wedding between Maggie and Eddie was beautiful as well as the lively reception. He, as you know went off to Great lakes Navel for his corpman training which he diligently put to good use.
I remember fondly when my sister made him a matching bathing suit to her bikini and they both rocked it! Eddie , as you know loved animals and nature. He often helped his Dad, Ed senior. He continued to help his son Patrick whom he loved dearly. He will be missed by all who knew him. My condolences to his family for they will always keep his memories alive. Blessings be upon you!
God Bless our Aquinas Class of 1964 Brother.
I was saddened to hear of Ed’s passing, and my husband Clarence and I extend our condolences to Patrick, Lola, and all the family. I have so many great memories of him! Where to begin?
In the mid 70’s most people (Ed included) didn’t want to hire girls to do landscaping. I offered to work a week for free to try to get the job. Although I suspect they tried their best to get rid of me, I did well enough at both mowing and gardening that week that I did get hired. The second year I worked for him he put me in charge of one of the gardening crews. Ultimately I pursued a career in trucking, but whenever I was back in town we would get together to have coffee and he would usually talk me into working a few days for him again. He hired my second Mom, Laura, and she worked for him for many years in Gardening and Billing. Other family members somehow or another would end up working for him at various times. It felt more like a family than a job.
He was a great resource for local history. He would lecture his passengers as he was driving around town. Usually as he was looking directly at the building or property he was discussing. The only time I remember him Not doing that was on a trip to Florida with Ed and his Dad (Mr. Ed) to bring his grandfather (Mr. Frank) and his dog Bubbie, down to his house where he spent the winters. Ed got a break from driving and lecturing that trip, but that didn’t stop him from keeping us laughing the whole way.
He was great fun to go to festivals and concerts with. He introduced me to Handel’s Messiah via the Rochester Oratorio Society. In May, he would take an afternoon we were supposed to work and take the whole crew to the Lilac Festival. Going to work at customers in East Irondequoit usually ended with a stop at Marge’s on the way home. A trip to the Highland Park Conservatory with him was a Master Class in Horticulture. He was always happy to share his knowledge and experience. Many years after he retired from Landscaping he came to our new house to advise my husband and me on the plantings on the property. He gave us great advice on what to keep and what to replace. It was actually surprising to me to read in the obituary that his degree was in Sociology and Biology, and not Botany, Horticulture and Landscape Design.
Ed had the perfect personality (and the strength) to be a great asset to Florence and the crew at St. Ann’s, as well as the residents. He was a great friend to so many people. He will be missed.