Janet L.K. Hawkes, 85: Longtime volunteer, arts lover also pursued her own creativity

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Janet Lucinda Knowles Hawkes, 85, died Aug. 6 in Portland.

She was born Dec. 29, 1929, in Andover, Massachusetts, the third of four children of A. Edward and Edith McDonald Knowles.

The family moved to Portland in 1942, when her father became a partner in Thomas Smiley Co., a clothing store on Congress Street, later known as Grant Knowles. In 1948, the family purchased the Rines Company in Bangor and the Tweed Shop in Camden, and relocated to Bangor.

In the winter before graduating from Deering High School with the class of 1947, Janet met her future husband, Ted Hawkes. He had just returned from service in the U.S. Navy and was running the rope tow at Hurricane Mountain in Falmouth, before enrolling at the University of Maine. He gave Janet a ride home, and she saved her lift ticket from the day.

The couple were married in Bangor in 1951. In the same year, they both competed in the first Sugarloaf Schuss, hiking up the slopes before there were any tows or lifts. In 2001, the couple both skied the course for the 50th anniversary of the race, with children and grandchildren cheering them.

With her husband, Janet raised four children in Cape Elizabeth, where she enjoyed swimming, spending time in the town parks, and friendships with her neighbors.

For 50 years, Hawkes was also active in the Junior League of Portland, serving as president in 1965. She received the Marion Brown Payson Award for her volunteer efforts, including service on the boards of the Portland Society of Art, the Catherine Morrill Day Nursery, the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s “Dinners for the Symphony” and the Thomas Memorial Library. She was also a founding member of the Women’s Center at Westbrook College and a facilitator for its career development courses. She also served as director of volunteers at Mercy Hospital, organizing the first Mercy Ball.

Hawkes attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, and later continued her education at the University of Maine, the Maine College of Art and the Heartwood School of Art. With a keen eye and sense of style, she began to pursue her love of painting at the age of 60. She had her first solo exhibit at the Thomas Memorial Library on her 65th birthday. A few years later, her favorite show, which she called “Each in Her Own Voice,” included work of her three daughters.

She is survived by her husband, H. Theodore Hawkes; her brother and sister-in-law, Dr. John E. and Ann Knowles, of Yarmouth; children, Pamela Hawkes, Peter Hawkes, Alison Hawkes and Amy Hawkes, and their spouses, all of Portland; nine grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at First Congregational Church in South Portland at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, Hawkes’ family suggests that donations be made to the Portland Museum of Art in her name.

The family also thanks the staff of The Birchwoods for their thoughtful care over the past five years.

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