Carmen Jean Hawkins, 80, died Saturday February 20, 2021, at home with family from Dementia-related complications.
Carmen Jean Hawkins (nee McCourty) entered this world on a Good Friday. She went home to God this Lenten season. Throughout her life she said her life was a symbol of pain in the world. As her daughter I always challenged that self-assessment in replying that her life is a testament against succumbing TO pain. This bright and attractive young lady was born on March 22, 1940, in Colon, Republic of Panama. She was the second surviving daughter of seven children to Marcelina Neckles McCourty and Dunstan McCourty. Carmen graduated from Rainbow City High School in 1959.
As a young adult in Panama, she accompanied her father Dunstan (lovingly known as Mr. Mac) to visit the sick in Colon. In the early 1960s after declining an opportunity to move to the United States as a nursing student, she later emigrated after marriage in 1964. Settled in Brooklyn, New York she and her husband raised daughter Karen and son Rodney in the Catholic church. Her powerful, lilting Soprano voice was only one of the ways she exhibited her life to the tenets of Christianity. She also taught catechism as a young adult. With seven McCourty siblings, Carmen was the Tia most likely to watch over the nieces and nephews. And throughout her married and family life in New York, no relative that became ill and asked for her help was ever turned down. As a communicant and avid member of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, she never let the opportunity for prayer for her loved ones to be added to their roles, whether a birth, time of illness or death. She loved Mary and unceasingly sought her intercession on behalf of the entire McCourty family. Carmen was an "old-school" Catholic that was the definition of the precepts of the church - until her health began to fail, she attended Mass on Sundays and every Holy Day of obligation, confessed her sins, received the Holy Eucharist, fasted, and provided for the needs of the church. Needed to argue? Ask her whether eggs counted as "meat" on Fridays. Single or married, she was always known as "Sister Carmen."
At times an office secretarial worker, but mostly a homemaker, she enjoyed music. Neil Diamond and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir were among the favorite artists' tunes she might hum around at random moments. As her daughter I could only envy those Mariah-type high notes she could hit while up in the loft. If a game of Monopoly were in progress you could count on her asking for "momma to get a new pair of shoes," with the roll of each die. And be prepared to wear your earplugs if you were sitting nearby during WWE Raw professional wrestling, as she loved the drama that accented the wild costumes every week on the television with The Big Show or The Undertaker. Also, a surprise to many of us, she enjoyed those titillating Jerry Springer-type talk shows that often led to an on-camera melee. There was just something about the prospect of a chair flying across the stage that would make her burst out in laughter. Cut yellow flowers as a gift could also always elicit a smile.
Every McCourty sister knew how to sew; Carmen was no different. She taught me (Karen) how to use an old Singer machine and taught granddaughter Lauren how to darn by hand- sewing from making your own patterns was a legacy carried down through the family. And man did she love to read! Sure, there was the Bible that she treasured - a wedding gift from her husband and even used as a Summer reading tool when grandchildren had reading to keep up with, but Carmen also had a steady appetite for romance novels. In her secretarial days she could devour at times more than one book per week. Word finds and Soduko were the word projects of her retirement years because she was always a voracious reader and lover of words; these are also legacies passed along to the Hawkins and Jackson girls.
Joining her husband in retirement in the early 2000s Carmen enjoyed a quiet life sometimes joining him on leisure trips, but was just as content as a homebody, as Carmen was not fond of plane nor boat travel. Trips to the grandchildren's latest school milestone achievement or little league game or a baptism, confirmation or dance recital were the crux of the travel itinerary in the later years.
Carmen was predeceased by her husband of 55 years, Gilbert. She is also survived by daughter Karen Hawkins, son Rodney Hawkins, grandchildren Taylor Jackson and Lauren Jackson and their spouses, great-grandchildren Christian Dileo, Landen Pacsay, Alivea Jackson and Tahla Jackson. Her surviving siblings include Earlando McCourty, Rosemaire McCourty, Cristina McFarlane, and Thelma Gittens. There were also dozens of nieces, nephews, grand and great grands that she loved and adored.
The family of the late Carmen J. Hawkins expresses our heartfelt appreciation for YOUR love and support in these especially trying times. As dementia is an umbrella affliction suffered by so many of our beloved mothers and fathers like Carmen, in lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in Carmen J. Hawkins' name to the Alzheimer's Society/ Foundation (www.alz.org) May God watch over you as Carmen joins the choirs of angels and keep you in His loving embrace.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, with the cortege leaving at 10:30 a.m. from Cook Funeral Home, 82 Litchfield St., Torrington, CT to St. Peter Church (St. John Paul the Great Parish) 99 East Main St., Torrington, CT for a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at St. Francis New Cemetery. Calling hours will be held on Monday, March 1, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Cook Funeral Home. Relatives and friends attending funeral services are reminded to follow CDC recommendations for COVID prevention by following social distancing and wearing protective facemasks.
Condolences may be sent to Carmen’s family by visiting www.cookfuneralhomect.com
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Alzheimer's Association, Connecticut Chapter
200 Executive Blvd., Southington, CT 06489-1058,