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Barbara A. Hawks, longtime administrative assistant at Gilman School, dies

Barbara Anne Gunn, the daughter of James Gunn and his wife, Jean St. Martin Wyatt, was born in Baltimore and raised in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.
Barbara Anne Gunn, the daughter of James Gunn and his wife, Jean St. Martin Wyatt, was born in Baltimore and raised in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.

Barbara A. Hawks, the longtime administrative assistant to several Gilman School headmasters who relished her role as being a second mother to its students, died May 2 from complications of pneumonia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The Anneslie resident was 75.

“She loved the boys and they loved her,” said John E. Schmick, a former Gilman teacher, who later served as headmaster from 2007 to 2013. “Her door was always open and she’d listen to them and counsel them. She was a very caring person.”

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Sherm Bristow, who graduated from Gilman in 1967 and from 1971 to 1997, had been an English teacher, athletic director, and head basketball and football coach.

“She was revered by generations of Gilman students, serving as their trusted confidante and surrogate mother,” Mr. Bristow wrote in an email. “Often when returning to the administrative offices, we would find many students hanging out between classes with Mrs. Hawks. We all benefited enormously from her ability to connect with every person at the school.”

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William Greene, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, was a former associate headmaster at Gilman.

“Barbara Hawks was the mom away from home for so many Gilman students,” Mr. Greene wrote in a Facebook posting. “She has the keen ability to provide comfort for students, faculty and staff the only way a mom could. Her smile, wit and sense of humor were infectious.”

The former Barbara Anne Gunn, the daughter of James Gunn, a real estate agent, and his wife, Jean St. Martin Wyatt, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Hawks was a 1962 graduate of Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington, and then attended East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. She moved to Ruxton in the 1960s with her parents.

She began working at Gilman School in 1977, and during her tenure at the school worked for two headmasters: Redmond C.S. “Reddy” Finney, headmaster from 1968 to 1992, and Archibald R. Montgomery IV, who headed the school until 2001.

“Barbara was fiercely loyal to Reddy and she loved the school,” said Mr. Schmick, a Woodbrook resident.

“She was extremely knowledgeable and assisted Redmond Finney with a passion and a dedication that fortified his ability to pursue greatness,” Mr. Greene wrote.

“Barbara was the quintessential assistant to the head of school. She dealt effortlessly with the headmaster’s many scheduling needs and interruptions, handled with grace the parents, faculty/staff and trustees, and most importantly served the students by being the trusted link between them and the administration,” wrote Mr. Bristow, a Lutherville resident, who was associate headmaster to Mr. Finney.

“She loved Gilman with a passion that was demonstrated on a daily basis regardless of who you were, and that made her a unique asset to the Gilman community,” Mr. Green wrote. “She enriched the Gilman experience with her dedication to the staff and faculty of the school that made a difference.”

After retiring in 1999, Ms. Hawks worked in the after school program at Roland Park Country School and in recent years, volunteered at Keswick Multi-Care Center and Our Daily Bread.

Ms. Hawks enjoyed reading, gardening and canning vegetables she had grown in a plot that she maintained with her three daughters.

“She also loved visiting Sanibel Island, Florida, that was her favorite pl;ace,” said a daughter, Ellen “Boo” Hawks Kone of Parkville.

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Because of the coronavirus pandemic plans for a celebration of life gathering are incomplete.

In addition to Ms. Kone, she is survived by two other daughters, Lisa Hawks of Arcadia and Katie Hawks of New York City; a sister, Susan Wyatt-Carter of Roland Park; and five grandchildren. Her marriage to John Wells Hawks ended in divorce.

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