A Piece, a Person, a Story, Part 1: A Person


Photo Source: Jacob Rivers

Jacob Rivers, Writer

Recently, I have been in touch with a former Pentucket student named Gordon Tatro about his desire for a historical collection for our school. He hopes to honor his former metal shop teacher, Mr. Robert Hawes, with this display and remind us of the history of Pentucket.

Robert B. Hawes, 78, died May 15, 2012, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon after a short illness. He was born in Boston on October 3, 1933, his parents were Robert B. and Margaret Hawes, and he was raised in Hingham and Braintree, Massachusetts. 

After his graduation from Braintree High School, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served during the Korean War. Upon discharge from the Marine Corps, he enrolled at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and completed a program in mechanical design technology. He then earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern University. He completed his education after receiving his Doctor of Education degree from Pennsylvania State University.

He began teaching at Pentucket Regional Junior-Senior High School in West Newbury, Massachusetts. He spent many years there as a teacher, football coach, and department chairman. He then spent the rest of his working career at Keene State College, where he taught for thirty years and became an associate professor. He was also an avid outdoor enthusiast and spent a lot of time fishing and hunting.

When asked, Gordon had this to say about Robert,“Mr. Hawes was a confidant to me and perhaps many other students at Pentucket. As I was about to graduate, the draft for the Vietnam War was approaching, and in 1966-67, Vietnam had begun, and the military was drafting students for the slaughter there.”   

Mr. Hawes was a friend and someone that the students could trust. The Vietnam War era was a scary time to be a teenager; young men were being drafted, and there was no information or guarantee of anything. They just got thrown into it at a young age.

When Gordon spoke with Mr. Hawes about his concerns, he told Gordon that the military would never send him anywhere when he was untrained. He gave assurance and comfort to Gordon and many other kids and helped them with their fears of violence, the Viet Cong, and the unknown.

Robert Hawes was a veteran, a teacher, a professor, and a friend to the students at Pentucket. For his service in the military and as a teacher, Gordon and I are trying to make a memorial for his former teacher. The hope is to honor him with a piece Gordon made in his metal shop class and to remind Pentucket students of our history.

If you wish to follow the journey and honor Mr. Hawes, I will see you…


In Part 2!