December 14, 1927 - June 22, 2021
With profound sadness, Gwen’s family said a final good bye to a wonderful wife/Mom/Grama/Greatgrandma after an unexpected illness took her quickly and peacefully. Fortunately, family was by her side.
Mabel Gwendolyn Carswell was born in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, and after completing high school at Luther College in Regina, moved to Cranbrook, BC for the clean mountain air. In Cranbrook she met the love of her life, Edward Hawkins. They married in 1950 and celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2020.
Gwen lived many years in Calgary while she and Ed raised their family. Gwen could be found skiing in the mountains near and far, and loved watching many sports, especially the Calgary Stampeders football team. In a meat and potatoes world, Gwen was a lasagna and stroganoff-style creative cook. She was able to wrangle her four children with grace and humour as they camped in everything from a canvas tent to a rebuilt school bus.
Always active in the Lutheran church, Gwen was a charter member of Emmanuel Lutheran in Forest Lawn and later found a home at Highwood Lutheran Church where she became involved in the Lutheran Church Woman’s organization, Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW). As part of her many roles, she was able to travel to Africa and Europe several times. Her last visit to Africa was to Zambia in 2012, at the age of 85 where she delighted in a boat trip down the Zambezi and a safari in South Africa. After moving to Ruby Lake on the Sunshine Coast, Gwen joined the Living Faith Lutheran community as a charter member where she remained active in all aspects of church life. She also became involved in Habitat for Humanity, which Ed established on the Sunshine Coast.
Gwen’s happy place on this earth was Ruby Lake and the home that she and Ed built from a Lindal home kit. She loved the many birds who visited, especially the hummingbirds. Gwen was also an avid fisher on both the ocean and the lake. She spent many hours in the pedal boat with various grandchildren. When they purchased a party barge, it became her go-to mode of transportation on the water. She kept active, walking two miles a day as long as she could manage it. Gwen loved to have family visit and always said there was room for at least one more.
Gwen loved music and singing. She was a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus, and later the Pender Harbour choir, being an active member well into her 90s. Gwen was an avid reader and a talented artist in many mediums, including oil, acrylic and water colours. Her children’s and grandchildren’s homes are graced with many of her creations from throughout the years. She never stopped creating, and was working on new paintings until the end.
Gwen was a lifelong learner, always embracing new technologies. She discovered graphic design with the advent of the Mac computer in the 1980s, and was a gifted writer and talented editor. She travelled throughout Canada giving writing workshops so that women’s voices could be heard through the ELW publication ‘Esprit’. Later, she served as editor for the Lutheran World Federation publication ‘Women’, editing the magazine on her computer and mailing the diskettes to Geneva, Switzerland for publication. She adapted to new technologies, learning and exploiting to full advantage the benefits of the internet. During the pandemic she participated in online book clubs and worship services via Zoom and visited with family on FaceTime. She also wrote, edited and self-published her autobiography, sharing home-printed and hand-bound copies with family and friends.
Her many accomplishments and zest for life are even more astonishing given that Gwen had long-standing health challenges, beginning in early life with severe asthma. She survived multiple serious car accidents, surgeries, joint-replacements, and ambulance rides to the hospital. Uncomplaining through it all, she taught us that having a positive attitude is important — all things can be overcome.
Her loving family includes her husband of 70 years, Edward Hawkins, her four children, David Hawkins (Doris), Cathryn Aune (Len), Wendy Richardson (Paul) and Elaine Connors (Jim). She loved all her grandchildren, Michael, Kyla, Melissa, Matthew, Heather, Curtis, Bradley, Kathleen, Daniel, and Andrew. She was blessed with great-grandchildren Cathryn, Victoria, Sawyer, Briar and Ruby.
A family service will be held at Living Faith Lutheran Church on Friday, July 2nd, 2021 at 10 am.
“If you wish to attend the Zoom service, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the information about how to access the service”.
If desired, donations can be made in Gwen’s memory to Habitat for Humanity Sunshine Coast or Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mabel (Gwen) Gwendolyn Hawkins, please visit our floral store.