Larry Nelson Hawkins, age 79, of Withamsville, Ohio passed away after a five-month battle with cancer on Friday, May 15, 2020. The second of five Hawkins siblings, Larry was born on September 19, 1940 in Wayne County, KY to Henry and Frances (Bell) Hawkins. He grew up across Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, spending his early childhood on the family’s farm.
Upon graduating from “Mighty” Minford High School as a 17-year-old in 1958, Larry moved to Cincinnati for a machinist-apprentice position at Cincinnati Milling Machine Company (Milacron). Still, Larry returned to Scioto County every weekend to visit his high-school sweetheart, Linda Jenkins (Hawkins), whom he married in 1961. Early in Larry’s tenure at Milacron, a friend serendipitously encouraged him to apply to Procter & Gamble (“P&G”) for a Chemical Technician role, a position that did not then require an engineering degree, despite its highly technical nature. Larry applied, on a whim, which included taking P&G’s then-recently developed cognitive aptitude test. This marked the beginning of Larry’s successful 37- year career at P&G. Widely considered a subject-matter expert on detergent technologies, Larry worked on the team receiving patents for P&G’s “Bold” laundry detergent, which remains a bestseller in the United Kingdom today. Despite his accomplishments, Larry was even prouder of Linda’s professional achievements, championing her mid-career decision to earn a bachelor’s—and later master’s—degree in nursing from the University of Cincinnati.
Retiring from P&G at age 56 in 1996 enabled Larry to spend more time doing what he loved most: spending time with his grandchildren, who endearingly knew him as “Papaw.” He thrived when his family visited Cincinnati, sharing his Queen-City favorites, including trips to Cincinnati Reds games, outings to Kings Island, visits to local fishing holes, and dozens of meals at Larosa’s Pizza, Skyline Chili, and Montgomery Inn. Eternally and generously supporting his grandchildren, Larry spent much of his retirement attending their swim meets, tennis matches, basketball games, school plays, and Cub Scout Pinewood Derbies (for which he precisely engineered and constructed many championship-winning cars).
Any time not dedicated to family Larry spent on personal passions. He cherished time outdoors, from meticulously manicuring his Cincinnati and Huntington properties to playing fetch with his dear canine Kojak to working on his beloved Ford trucks. And when Larry couldn’t be outside, he challenged himself intellectually: he was a chess enthusiast, voracious reader, analytical problem solver, and avid yarn-spinner.
Larry is survived by his wife, Linda; son, Larry (Donna) Hawkins, Jr. of Jasper, IN; daughter, Teresa (Joe) Evans of Huntington, WV; grandchildren, Clark and Ross Evans, Daniel, Alex, Lauren, and Grant Hawkins; brother, Duane (Patricia) Hawkins of Thomson’s Station, TN; sisters, Carrol (Marvin) Klinker of Strongsville, Sharon (Mike) Gampp of Minford. Larry’s parents and younger brother, Bruce, preceded him in death.
Because of COVID-19 and the CDC’s public-health guidance, private services are limited to family. Interment will take place at Memorial Burial Park in Wheelersburg. Wolfe-Nelson Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Instead of flowers, consider a donation to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice. Share fond memories of Larry and condolences at www.WolfeNelsonFuneralHome.com.
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