SANFORD — Ralph Leslie Hawkins, age 95, passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 in St. George, Utah.
He was born Sept. 22, 1924 in Espinoza, the sixth of eight children to Aaron Sanford Hawkins Jr. and Ella Maude Culler.
Ralph was a loving husband to Ell Margaret Jensen. Together, they had eight children, six boys and two girls. Ralph attended school in Romeo. As a young boy, he learned the value of hard work and the joy of being part of a loving family. He would herd sheep and cattle on the foothills west of Romeo. He worked hard in the fields, working the land and harvesting crops with several teams of horses.
In 1947, Ralph enrolled at Brigham Young University. He worked hard and enjoyed his studies. He was a true-blue Cougar and would sing the fight song to get his children out of bed.
In 1949, he left to serve a full-time Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bueno Aires, Argentina. He served for three years and learned to love missionary work and the Spanish language.
On Oct. 1, 1952, he married Ell Margaret Jensen in the Mesa Arizona Temple for time and all eternity. Together, they made their home in Sanford.
Ralph was a farmer, rancher, and worked many years as an engineer for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.
Together, Ralph and Ell Margaret served as full- time missionaries, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Argentina, Bahia Blanca Mission. They made many friends as they served and loved the people.
Ralph was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He served as a faithful home teacher, always going the extra mile, looking after and taking care of the needs of his assigned families.
He served as a Seventy for many years, teaching the gospel and inviting all to come unto Christ. He spent many hours, night and day, working in the name extraction program, finding names for Temple work. Ralph served in the Denver, Albuquerque and New Mexico temples. The last two years of his life, he enjoyed living near the St. George, Utah, temple.
He loved singing in the church choir. He also served faithfully as a gospel doctrine teacher, scout master, high priest group leader and taught early morning seminary. He loved each of these responsibilities and magnified each calling.
Ralph was elected to serve on the Sanford School Board from July of 1969 to May of 1991 — 22 years of selfless service.
During hi service he spent many years as the president of the school board. He served on the United Transportation Union state board for nearly 30 years. He was elected secretary and later chairman of the Colorado Legislative Board.
Family was so important to Ralph. He always made time for family — family outings and family reunions. Ralph loved farming and ranching. He enjoyed watching the crops grow and working with livestock. He took every opportunity, while working with his family, to teach good work ethic and gospel principles. He taught these great lessons by example. Perhaps his greatest service was to his wife, as he lovingly cared for her through her health trials.
He is survived by seven of his children, Corinne (Art) Pitcher, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada, Glenda (Lynn) Kortz Browns Valley Calif., Ronald, (Marianne) Hawkins, Genola, Utah, Grant (Susan) Hawkins, Tooele ,Utah, James (Cindy) Hawkins, Orem Utah, Leslie (Janene) Hawkins, Sanford, and Stan (Jill) Hawkins, St. George Utah; 31 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ell Margaret Jensen; five brothers and two sisters, Albert Ray, Wallace Harold, Arthur Sanford, Myrtle Marie, Jesse Nathaniel, Ernest Wayne, Erma Alice; one son: Vernon Jensen Hawkins; and one grandson: Benjamin James Pitcher.
Funeral services will be held Monday, February 3rd at 11:00 am in the Sanford 1st Ward Chapel, 755 Main Street, Sanford Colorado. A viewing will be held on Sunday Evening February 2nd at 6:00 – 8:00 pm and Monday 9:00 – 10:30 am at the Sanford 1st Ward Chapel, 755 Main Street, Sanford Colorado. Interment will be in the Sanford City Cemetery.
We express sincere appreciation to The Retreat at SunRiver, Applegate HomeCare & Hospice, and Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah for their kind and compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the general missionary fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.