Helen Suzanne Hawley


image of Helen Hawley

Helen Hawley

Helen Suzanne Hawley (née Smith) passed away peacefully in Shoreline, Washington, surrounded by love, on November 6, 2022.  She was born on June 17, 1932 in Everett, Washington.  She grew up during the Depression and World War II, without much money but in a close and loving family with parents Phil and Doris, brother Con and sister Jan.  She made many life-long friends at Roosevelt High School (class of 1950) and Stanford University (class of 1954).  After college she spent several years traveling around Europe and living in New York City, San Francisco, and San Diego, where she met her first husband, Oliver Holmes King.  The Sixties brought her back to Seattle, where she had two daughters, Suzanne and Jana, and began a 30-year career as a legal secretary with Charles Mullavey in Ballard.

Helen married Dwight S. Hawley Jr. (Bud) in 1968 and welcomed two stepdaughters, Sue and Terri, into her life.  Their son Sam was born in 1970.  Her large family was the center of her life for the next 50 years, much of which was spent at the beach cabin on Dabob Bay, where her hospitality was legend and everyone was greeted with a big smile and “Welcome to Paradise”! The grandchildren spent many memorable summers at Dabob with Gma and Gpa.  Helen and Dwight had a wonderful, joyful 48-year marriage marked by laughter, games, family, and love.

After retirement, Helen traveled extensively, across the US in a motorhome with Dwight, and visited all seven continents.  She made friends wherever she went, including her Kenyan family, Jane, Thad, Mark, and Marie.  Helen loved music and was a season ticket holder for 50 years of the Seattle Symphony, Opera, and Ballet.  She took up birding later in life, became a master birder in 1995, and was an Audubon Society volunteer for more than 20 years.

Helen was a bright, shining light in our lives.  She was fierce, intelligent, independent, and resourceful, and instilled these qualities in her children and grandchildren.  Helen loved nature and was the original reduce, reuse, and recycler, striving to live lightly on the Earth.  She was also a singular character, with a unique wit and many quirky expressions that exemplified her zest for life.  Her eternally positive and optimistic outlook allowed her to look at a gray cloudy winter sky in Seattle, find the one tiny patch of blue, and declare “I think it is about to clear up”!  Even in her last years, her caregivers commented on her beautiful smile and her graceful manner.  Mother loved us unconditionally, and we will miss her dearly.  Her indomitable spirit will live on in our hearts forever.

Helen is survived by her sister Jan; children Suzanne (Jim), Jana (Liz), Sam (Wendi), Sue (Rick), and Terri (Peter); grandchildren Roger (Angela), Eric (Renae), Rosa (Kyle), Natt, Tom, Annie, Zeke; great-grandchild Mikiah (Curtis), and many nieces and nephews.  She was pre-deceased by her beloved husband Dwight, and grandson Jake.

A private family memorial will be held in December.

We would love to hear your memories of Helen in the comments section below.

Donations in Helen’s honor may be made to the Seattle Audubon Society at:

or to a charity of your choice.

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