Public Radio for Alaska's Bristol Bay
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Tom J. Hawkins: March 8, 1946 - Feb. 14, 2023

 Tom J. Hawkins
Courtesy of the Hawkins family
Tom J. Hawkins

Tom J. Hawkins of Anchorage, Alaska, died on Feb. 14, 2023, at age 76. Tom was born on March 8, 1946, to Helen and Mick Hawkins in Everett, Wash. Tom was a land manager and planner, loved maps and enjoyed outdoor adventures with his family.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Helen (Rorgard) and J.H. "Mick" Hawkins. Tom is survived by his wife, Susan (Wakefield); and children, Hannah Hawkins (Anthony Larson) and Colin Hawkins of Anchorage. Tom is also survived by his granddaughters, Ingrid and Birgitta Larson of Anchorage; and sisters, Mary Hawkins (Ron Anderson) of Stanwood, Wash., and Jane Hawkins (John Gitkov) of Auke Bay, Alaska.

Tom was interested in the land in Alaska and devoted his career to planning and managing land use, which included work for the Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Choggiung Village Corporation in Dillingham, the Joint Federal State Land Use Planning Commission, State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, The Mental Health Trust Authority and 16 years with Bristol Bay Native Corporation, where he retired as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Tom was a skilled laborer, owned lots of tools and enjoyed gardening, landscaping and building projects. He had full confidence in moving heavy things. He grew up involved in scouting, volunteered on a search and rescue unit in Snohomish County, Wash., and was a scout troop leader. Tom's favorite family outings in Dillingham involved hiking or skiing survey cuts to locate brass monuments. Hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, boating and exploring new territory were skills he brought with him when he and his wife Susan drove their VW van up the Alcan Highway from Seattle in 1972.

Tom trained as a land law examiner in the early 70s for adjudicating land selections under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. He was active with the International Right of Way Association and the Western States Water Council, interested in navigability issues, water rights, gravel deposits and all aspects of community resources and planning. Tom was a Vietnam veteran and enjoyed using his GI benefits at the University of Alaska earning a Professional Certificate in Planning in 1977 and a Master in Public Administration in 1978.

Tom enjoyed family hikes in the Chugach Mountains and would lie on the tundra using a rock as a pillow after a snack of black licorice. Tom and his family enjoyed biking, cross-country skiing, orienteering and community races, and Tom added several marathons to his athletic pursuits. Tom loved salmon, which he called "the food of the gods," was an avid reader of large type murder mysteries, loved singing along to his favorite music and had an incredible ability to summarize information. Tom lived as an optimist.

Remembrances for Tom may be sent to Anchorage Park Foundation, Friends of the Library, Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage or the BBNC Education Fund. A celebration of life will be held for Tom in September 2023.

Bristol Bay Obituaries is a place for people to remember family members and loved ones who have passed on. Email submissions and photos to