Obituary for Kerry Hawkins
In Winnipeg, at age 76, on Sunday September 3, Kerry Lloyd Hawkins passed on gracefully. Kerry was a son, husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague and pioneering business visionary. He came from humble beginnings and through perseverance, keen intelligence and hard work achieved tremendous success and accomplishments, not only for himself and family, but also for all Canadians. In the early 1960’s, Kerry took the bus to Fargo, North Dakota to attend university with not enough money to do so. Through extreme resourcefulness, he was able to complete his studies in Business Economics. In Fargo he met Kaaren Olson, the love of his life, and they married after they both graduated. Kerry was hired by Cargill in 1964, and they moved, first to Minneapolis, then Chicago, and then Winnipeg, where daughter Onalee Marie was born. They suffered the terrible loss of infant daughter Karoline Joan Hawkins in 1970. The Hawkins family moved to London, England where son Kerry Evan was born and after that they also lived in Geneva Switzerland before returning to Winnipeg.
Kerry’s business career blossomed upon their return. Kerry had a special connection to people and their value and contribution to organizations. He recognized the larger visionary picture of the economic landscape of both Cargill, where he was employed, and the broader region and community. He served as CEO of Cargill from September 1982 to December 2005.
Kerry believed in supporting the larger corporate and business community with an aim in doing what was best for the Manitoba economy. Kerry was a pioneer in believing in the aboriginal business community. His influence had a tremendous impact on the present state of the province. He was a member or chair of numerous boards including Nova Chemicals, TransCanada Pipelines, National Leasing, Manitoba Blue Cross, Prince Rupert Port Authority, CentrePort, WSO, WAG, RWB Fundraising, HBC, Shell Canada, Winnipeg Airport Authority, Manitoba Business Council, Saskferco Products Inc., Cascadia Terminal, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and C.D. Howe Institute, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Junior Achievement of Canada, Vanier Institute of the Family, and a member of the Associates of the I.H. Asper School of Business.
Kerry served as a proud member of the Baker’s dozen. He has been honored numerous times including the 2012 Manitoba Museum Tribute Honoree, Distinguished Service Award from University of Manitoba, The Order of Manitoba, Duff Roblin Award from the University of Winnipeg, and the Honorary Colonel of the Patricia Regiment in Manitoba.
Kerry will be missed by many, none more than his wife Kaaren and his children Onalee [Neil Minuk] and Evan. His grandchildren Braden, Parker and Ellie and their father David will forever hold fond memories of adventures with Papa. May your legacy live on and your perseverance be contagious. May your story inspire generations to come.
In lieu of flowers or in Kerry’s memory please make a donation to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet or the Fort Whyte Centre.