George W. Hawkes

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George W. Hawkes

Arlington Citizen-Journal

Hall of Fame Class of 2017

George W. Hawkes, 1916-2004, served as the 92nd president of the Texas Press Association (1969-70). He started his newspaper career as a high school freshman working for The Flatonia Argus as printer's devil and pressman.

While attending Baylor University, he served as a Linotype operator and pressman for Baylor’s student-produced newspaper, The Daily Lariat. Upon graduation from high school in 1933, Hawkes, at age 18, leased and then bought The Argus, which he operated until he volunteered for military service, joining the Army Air Corps in 1942. He was honorably discharged in 1944.

After release from active duty, Hawkes went to work for The Redland Herald in Nacogdoches, where he assisted in consolidating The Herald with the Daily Sentinel.

In 1946, Hawkes and his brother, Charles, purchased The Arlington Citizen, a struggling weekly newspaper, from A.H. Wheeler. As the town grew, Hawkes and partners purchased The Arlington Journal, merged the two newspapers and in 1957 organized Citizen-Journal Inc.

In 1960, Hawkes bought The Mansfield Mirror, a weekly publication in Tarrant County. He changed its name to The News-Mirror and retained ownership of the newspaper until 2000, when it was sold to Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In 1964, the Hawkes brothers, Dick Weicker and Miller Bunkley sold 51 percent of Citizen-Journal Inc.’s stock to Carter Publications, publishers of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Star-Telegram Publisher Amon Carter Jr. kept Hawkes as publisher and his brother, Charles, as editor. Weicker also stayed on as general manager and Bunkley as operations manager.

As reported in the Star-Telegram, former Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff, whose tenure coincided with Hawkes’ newspaper career, once said: "Arlington marks its modern-day time from the point that George Hawkes came to our community."

Hawkes is credited with bringing new life to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce after World War II and was a founding director of Arlington Christmas Samaritans, now Arlington Goodfellows. He served as president of the Arlington YMCA and served on the Arlington Library Board. In 1994, Arlington renamed the Central Library in his honor.

Hawkes had a big hand in modernizing the Texas Press Association, which had been headquartered in a clapboard house at the corner of 17th and San Antonio streets, just west of the Capitol. As chairman of the association’s board of directors, Hawkes was instrumental in the acquisition of a former lumberyard and Dr Pepper bottling plant at the corner of Fifth Street and West Avenue in downtown Austin. The building at 718 West Fifth Street served as home to the association from 1971 to 2014.