David Grant Hawkins
September 24, 1952 – June 9, 2020
Resident of Fremont, CA
Last summer, the East Bay lost one of its good guys. David Grant Hawkins was born September 24, 1952 in Oakland, California, the first son of 6 children born to the late Grant and Marjorie Hawkins. In this large and loving family, he was brought up with good family values which served him well throughout his life.
Dave and his siblings had fun growing up in East Oakland on 55th Avenue, they and their friends played on the MacArthur Freeway when it was under construction, crawled through the tunnels under Mills College, and collected treasure in landfills. Dave loved tools as a child and built all kinds of things from a young age.
Dave started high school at Fremont High in Oakland before his family moved to the Skyline High School attendance zone. Always athletic, Dave was on Skyline’s gymnastics team and was able to perform acrobatic jumps until his early forties. After graduating from Skyline in 1970, he attended Laney College before enrolling at BYU where he studied architecture and played on the school’s volleyball team. Although he didn’t graduate from college, he always made sure his own kids would. He had a drawing board to draw his own building plans and to sketch out his own creative ideas of which he had a lot.
In 1974, Dave’s future wife, Carol, was living in the Montclair district of Oakland with her parents. While they were on vacation, she accidentally crashed their car into the garage wall. Carol’s sister-in-law suggested that she call her friend’s brother Dave – a “really nice young man with an entrepreneur’s license.” Dave got out right away and the damage was fixed before Carol’s parents got home. Her parents approved, Work and Dave!
Carol and Dave started dating and getting married very little in 1975 on Treasure Island thanks to Carol’s father who was a retired naval officer. They moved into the Fremont cottage in Irvington that Dave bought when he was 21. They enjoyed their pre-kid years going to restaurants and rock concerts, like Day on the Green for Joe Walsh and more, the Keystone in Berkeley for Elvin Bishop, the Longbranch in Berkeley for hits and Winterland for Bruce Springsteen. . They visited Universal Studios and the new Magic Mountain, and took their dog Benji with them camping at Kings Canyon.
In 1977, they bought a repairman-superior in the Warm Springs neighborhood of Fremont. Like many contractors, prioritizing building his own house kind of took over, and he jokingly called his house the Winchester Mystery House because he was never done building it and would come up with some unique design features along the way!
Dave was busy with his construction business, doing residential and commercial construction throughout the Bay Area. Many of his projects can be seen today, such as the ADA Ramp on Patterson House at Ardenwood Historic Farm, numerous Pizza Hut restaurants, Deli Zorba cafes, supercuts, Martin’s cosmetics stores and Subway Sandwiches, residential bedroom additions and many more. He easily befriends people from all walks of life and often becomes friends with his clients.
In 1982, her daughter Kristin was born, and in 1983 came another daughter Lauren. Dave was a fun and involved father, coaching softball teams and attending soccer games, swimming and track competitions, and group concerts. Even after breaking both feet in a workplace accident and using a wheelchair, he helped Kristin practice the softball throw in the streets. In addition, while injured, he built a wheelchair ramp in his house so that he could get to his office one step lower.
Dave was very lucky winning raffles and concert tickets. He notably won vacations to Manzanillo, Mexico and VIP tickets to a dinner with a concert by Bruce Hornsby and Range plus a limousine. Dave enjoyed attending the Oakland A games with his family and with his brothers and their families. He used any excuse to drive to Oakland to go to Fenton for ice cream or to Hayward or San Leandro for Old South Barbeque. In recent years he enjoyed going to dinner and attending concerts at Yoshi’s with our good friends and neighbors.
Dave has been a general building contractor since 1974 and has experienced all the ups and downs that come with owning his own business. He was confident though, which helped him move forward with his demanding job. And he’s always taken us on fabulous vacations to Hawaii, Disneyland, Disney World, camping in Yosemite, New York, skiing and snowboarding, Mexico and more.
Dave was a foodie and knew all the great places and the best food trucks. Music was also one of his passions. If his radio wasn’t on, he was probably watching the A’s, Raiders, 49ers (when the Raiders were in LA!) Or Warriors play, or watching reruns of Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, or Seinfeld. Dave has listened to everything from Alligator Records collections to Peter Gabriel to rock and soul. Some of his favorite bands were Tower of Power, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Huey Lewis and the News, The Allman Brothers and The Police, to name a few. He taught himself to play the harmonica and loved to play along with his favorite songs. He and a friend even opened a music store in Fremont in the 1990s called Tune Town.
Dave always made us laugh like when he and his family were at the Medieval Times bar in Southern California in 2005. When asked for his order he said “I’ll have a Newcastle. My old castle is falling apart. . ” Corny yes but we laughed and laughed! He’s always been a goofy guy. He might have a temper, but he was a funny guy nonetheless.
In the late 2000s, Dave started having trouble seeing and forgetting how to do things that were always second nature to him. Unfortunately, he would be diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease. If he could, he would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported him and his family over the past few years. Dave passed away peacefully from illness in his home he built on June 9, 2020 at the age of 67.
Dave is survived by his wife Carol, his daughters Kristin and Lauren, his sons-in-law Dan and Josh, and his grandsons Jonathan, Asher, William and Elliott, as well as his sisters Jill and Bonnie in Utah, his brother Kent in Martinez, CA, and his brother Randy in Virginia. He was predeceased by his sister Laurie. Dave will be remembered as funny, talented, hardworking, generous, creative, honest and as a good father, husband, son, brother, neighbor and friend.
Posted in East Bay Times on April 18, 2021.