[UPDATE] Remembering Joe Hawley

The coronavirus has claimed the life of a well-known local volunteer.

Joe Hawley lived in Norwalk. But he was very active in both Sunrise Rotary and the Y’s Men. He died on Wednesday, at 67.

An entrepreneur and sales and marketing executive, he worked with global beauty and fashion accessories firms like Healthtex, Liz Claiborne and Avon. He served as a mentor and coach to many in the industry.

Joe Hawley

In retirement, Joe devoted himself to serving his community, as a volunteer with Westport Sunrise Rotary and Y’s Men.

Roy Fuchs — who know Joe through both organizations — says, “Joe’s abilities, judgment and willingness to get involved, to help wherever he could, were respected.

“In Sunrise Rotary he held no office, but was a leader. He took over our already successful annual wine tasting fundraiser. He led, he organized, he managed — he joked, he cajoled. He made it successful beyond our wildest imagination.

“At our meetings Joe was quick to speak, but always with a purpose. Always with a message. He got most of us to think just a bit harder about what’s important, in our lives and in the spirit of Rotary, as we follow the motto of ‘Service Above Self.'”

“We will miss his joy, his laughter and his willingness to help others.”

Joe was an avid kayaker and bike rider, and a wonderful neighbor. In fact, he said being president of his Norwalk neighborhood association was his “best job ever.”

Joe loved to travel, and loved his family. He was happiest when they intersected. His 2 grandchildren were the lights of his life.

He is also survived by his wife Susan; daughters Ashley and Signe; son Trevor; 2 brothers, a sister and 21 nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be organized by his family at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Westport Sunrise Rotary or Norwalk Hospital Community Care Team.

8 responses to “[UPDATE] Remembering Joe Hawley

  1. Debbie McManus

    Joe was the best! He lived in my parent’s neighborhood in Marvin Beach. He would sit at the beach on the bench with his neighbors and put his face to the sun and say “This is heaven!”. Rest in Peace, Joe…you’ll always be in our hearts in Marvin Beach, thanks for making our world brighter while you were here.

  2. Well said.

  3. Cheryl McKenna Kritzer

    I am so so sorry to hear this news . I worked with Joe at Healthtex in the mid 80’s . He was the greatest salesman and merchant!
    I also attended many of the sunrise Rotary meetings on Fridays when they were held at Bobby Q’s on Main Street . Although I never joined Rotary as I was still working full time in the city and running my own Studio . He was always funny and tried to get me to sign up. Wanted me to know I belonged to this TRIBE ( he was selling me as he was very very very good at)
    May heaven enjoy him now as I’m sure he has something to tell G-d or better still sell him .
    Rest in peace dear Joe you will be missed .

  4. Joe has been an inspiration for me and many others. He perfectly embodied the giving and love that Rotary aspires to be.

    When he did many Read Aloud days at Bridgeport schools, he was so exciting and excited that even a happy class of 3rd or 4th graders couldn’t match his energy and enthusiasm.

    At the twice yearly Sunrise Rotary food drives at Stop and Shop he raised everyone’s game. We always made sure that he was there in a prime spot because the donations—and the joy neighbors had at giving them—easily doubled because of his enthusiasm and humor.

    He has been a role model to me because he is so gifted at lifting the spirits of those around him. I am inspired by how openly and often he would let people know how much he loved and appreciated them. From his dear family to his fellow Rotarians, from the inspiring Rotary Students of the Month he helped select from Staples, to the stranger who smiled at his sometimes corny jokes, he never squandered an opportunity to say “I love you”. I just wish I had told him more how much I loved him back for that.

    If, at the end of my life, I have just one who feels for me the respect, inspiration and love I have for Joe then mine will be a success.

    I miss you, Joe.

  5. Stephen Axthelm

    Joe was great guy and a really good man, He will be deeply missed by his many many friends at The Unitarian Church in Westport.

  6. Just learned of this devastating news. No words can express the sorrow of losing such a wonderful man. Joe was part of the fabric that makes our community what it is. May his memory bring blessings to his family and our community for generations to come.

  7. I knew Joe in Great Neck since we were about 18 years old. We both worked at Parkwood Pool. He ran the snack bar and I and another lifeguard would sometimes remove the acoustic ceiling tiles in front of the snack bar door and climb over into the snack bar after he went home a grill up burgers, He was always so mad and we all laughed so hard. He knew who was doing it so he finally came up stairs to the pool one day and said”at least you guys could clean up after” and you know front that day on we did. It pains me that even almost 50 years later when I was told that he passed away it till makes me ry a little every day. He was a good man and liked by everyone. We gave him such a bad time, but he was always so good natured about it. I will miss him dearly.
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