by Ed Oleata
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - (July 7, 2003) - The track and field community lost a great aficionado with the passing of Harry Hawke, 74, on July 7, 2003. Born in Mendota, Illinois he was the Illinois state pole vault champion in 1947. While at Purdue he was the Big-10 champion.
After serving in the Army and seeing service in the Korean War he settled in San Diego and became an elementary school teacher. He coached and officiated in track his entire life and was always available to assist athletes who needed help.
He was already 48 when masters track and field began but he started competing immediately in the decathlon, shot put, discus throw and javelin throw. He was a national champion in all four and set many age group records.
In his early fifties he had to give up the decathlon because his achilles tendon was permanently injured to the point where he could no longer sprint. This didn't stop Harry. He learned a new event, the hammer throw, and became a national champion there as well as in the Weight pentathlon.
A quiet, unassuming man, he is survived by his wife Katherine, two daughters, a son and two grandchildren.