Mark Thomas Hawkins Sr. was born on August 3, 1955 in Hamilton, Ohio. He died peacefully at home on March 18, 2021. He was the son of Lucien and Lena Mae Hawkins. His family belonged to Pilgrim Baptist Church of Hamilton, Ohio. It was here at the tender age of 8 Mark accepted Jesus as his personal savior and was baptized under the pastoral care of Pastor Sloan Hodges.
Mark was educated in the Hamilton City Schools and graduated in 1973 from Garfield High School. Through the help of mentor and coach, Don Gillespie, Mark was awarded a basketball scholarship to attend Highland Park Community College in Detroit, Michigan. He then went on to transfer to Wilmington College where he continued his basketball career and also excelled in track. In 1977, Mark graduated from Wilmington College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
After graduation Mark returned to Hamilton and immediately returned to his home church Pilgrim Baptist where he was deeply involved with an organization called The Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was a fellowship group for young men that did outreach work in the community. Mark was heavily involved at Pilgrim Baptist Church as well, where he coached basketball and baseball and created the church’s first youth basketball team. He faithfully attended Sunday school and also began a tape ministry for the church where they recorded church services and programs. Mark served as a trustee under the leadership of Pastor Norman L. Townsel.
In 1984, the Lord blessed Mark with his faithful bride Sharon Lee Brooks and they were married at Pilgrim Baptist Church. From their union, two children were born, Mark Thomas Hawkins Jr. and Shalena Renee Hawkins. Mark later went on to join Sharon at Greater Fellowship Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Pastor H.M. Smith. Mark was ordained as a deacon in 1988 and served faithfully. In the summer of 1997 Mark announced his call to the gospel ministry. He was then appointed as an Associate Minister. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit on July 29, 2006 he was called to pastor the Greater Fellowship Missionary Baptist church. He faithfully served there for 15 years.
Mark’s ministry excelled at Greater Fellowship. It included: men’s ministry, children’s church, Wednesday noon day prayer, Thursday night bible class and community outreach events. Mark preached many inspiring sermons until his health started to decline.
Mark taught in the Hamilton City School District for 15 years. Later he was employed as a teacher in the Cincinnati Public School District for over 16 years.
Mark was a man of many talents. Above all he enjoyed preaching, basketball and fishing. Mark was an avid fisher and on any warm day he could be found on the banks with his rods. Mark also was a lover of dogs. Some of his favorite breeds included Boxers, Great Danes, and Rottweilers. Mark enjoyed different types of music including gospel, soul and hymnals. Some of his favorite artists were Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Clara Ward.
Mark is preceded in death by his parents Lucien and Lena Mae Hawkins, his sister Lydia S. Hawkins, and son Mark Thomas Hawkins Jr. He leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife of 36 years Sharon L. Hawkins, loving daughter Shalena Forde (John) and a host of family and friends.
Mark was known for his kind, gentle spirit and his willingness to encourage everyone he met. One of his favorite scriptures was Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”