by Bob Holmes
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - (July 17, 2003) - After a two year battle with a very rare form of cancer, Harry Hawke died on July 17, 2003.
Born in Mendota, Illinois, June 24, 1929, Harry won the pole vault championship at the 1947 Illinois high school state meet with a vault of 12 feet 7 inches. He then lettered in track and field at Purdue University in 1950 and 1951.
After graduation, Harry continued to support Purdue track and field and was proud of a large plaque Purdue presented him for that lifelong support. He also contributed to local track and field as a member of the San Diego Track and Field Officials Association.
Harry won many gold medals participating in masters track and field and was an American age group record holder in the decathlon, shot put, and discus throw. He earned the San Diego Masters Athlete of the Year award in 1994, 1997, and 2000.
Harry was especially proud of being named the Amateur Athlete of the Month by the San Diego Hall of Champions for July 1995. He was awarded this honor because of his track and field accomplishments at the 1995 USA Masters Championships where he captured gold medals in the hammer throw and shot put plus a silver in the discus throw.
At the annual Hall of Champions dinner, Harry and his daughter Susan sat near sports announcer Dick Enberg and baseball hall of famer Ted Williams. Harry's daughter was an All-American tennis player at San Diego State University and is also remembered in San Diego's Hall of Champions.
The San Diego city council adjourned a meeting on July 29, 2003 in memory of Harry Hawke. A memo signed by the mayor and eight city council members was given to Harry's wife, Beverly. This meant a lot to her and his family.
A memorial service was held on July 23, 2003 at Palisades Presbyterian Church in San Diego where Harry was a faithful member.
He was a champion and will be missed by all.