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A tragic loss for the RRE community

Ralph HawkinsIt is with great sadness that the Mass Bay RRE community mourns the sudden death of Ralph Hawkins on Saturday, February 10, at the age of 74. Ralph had gone across the street from his house in Canton, MA to assist a neighbor who was having car trouble. He had just finished doing what he could to help when he was struck and killed by a pickup truck that veered off the road and across two lawns before striking a tree and Ralph, fatally injuring him.

It is ironic that Ralph was killed doing something that was so typical of Ralph: helping a neighbor in need. Ralph was an incredibly generous, loyal and funny friend to many of us in Mass Bay RRE and beyond. He was extremely giving of his time and energy, sometimes in the direst of circumstances. One could not ask for a better friend than Ralph Hawkins.

Ralph was a long-time member of Mass Bay RRE. For as long as I have known him, he was an active and enthusiastic participant in club activities. He served as a car host on our excursions and was a member of our Board of Directors for many years. More recently, he had been a leader of our Show Crew, representing the club at upwards of a dozen train shows each year, and was the driving force behind the creation of our promotional video, “People who like Trains.”

Ralph was a railfan, to be sure, but he had other interests as well. He was an avid Chevy Corvette enthusiast, and owned at least three Corvettes of various vintages. He loved a good (or bad) joke, and was not above sharing a real ‘groaner.’

Ralph graduated from Arlington High School in 1961 and received a mechanical engineering degree from Northeastern University in 1968. An aeronautical engineer, Ralph developed and patented a better and less expensive method for the maintenance and certification of a particular type of aircraft engine, which he offered through his firm MORE Company (Maintenance On Reliable Engines). Ralph traveled around the world marketing their services to both commercial and military organizations.

Ralph is survived by his long-time companion and fiancée, Maggie Desdunes, who has been the light of his life since they met; his brothers Herbert Hawkins of Halifax, MA and John Hawkins of Lisbon, NH; and his sister Jean Rouleau of Pittsboro, NC.

How do we honor Ralph’s memory? Be humble. Be kind. Go out of your way to help a friend. And enjoy life.

Dave Brown
President, Mass Bay RRE

Funeral services were held on Saturday, February 17, 2018. Ralph was buried at Knollwood Memorial Park in Canton, Mass., a short distance from the Amtrak Northeast Corridor and the Canton viaduct.

Donations to honor Ralph’s memory may be made to:
The Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund
P.O. Box 4245, Andover, MA 01810 or on line at: www.massbayrre.org.

Site maintenance by Members of Mass Bay RRE.
Page updated April 8, 2018