The Hawley family will host a memorial service and celebration of Chuck's life on
February 27th, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
Bring stories to the Viking Hall at 8141 Briarwood St.
Charles C. Hawley
October 23, 1929 to January 14, 2016
On January 14, 2016, Alaska lost a great. Charles (Chuck) C. Hawley was a loving husband, father, geologist, musician, pilot, historian, teacher, author, and, for decades, leader of Alaskan policy and development.
Chuck was born in Evansville, Indiana to William McKinley Hawley, a Presbyterian minister, and Evelyn Barnes nee Caldwell, a dedicated minister’s wife and accomplished artist. He enjoyed football in high school and college, but the trumpet would be a lifelong love, second only to Jenny Lind, whom Chuck met while studying geology at Hanover College in Indiana. The two married in 1951. They had three sons - David, Ted, and Andrew, and alas (for Jenny), no daughters.
Chuck began his geology career with the US Geological Survey in Colorado where he worked on Uranium exploration and geophysical support for the Nevada Test Site. After completing his PhD in economic geology at the University of Colorado Boulder, he won an assignment to the USGS Heavy Metals program in Alaska in 1966 where the family spent the next two field seasons. By 1969, he’d fallen for the North; and left the USGS to make the move to Anchorage. There, he and his family built their home and Chuck began his first mineral exploration business.
Geology may have been his calling, but for Chuck, geology was always more than rock science. Over the next 45 years, Chuck became familiar with not only nearly every mineral prospect but nearly every prospector or miner in Alaska. He made life long friends in towns and villages across the state. His business concerns never came at the expense of others, and he and Jenny worked with state, federal, and native communities to ground the designation of lands for development or preservation in Alaska’s geological and societal realities, playing a pivotal role in the implementation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Never slowing, Chuck resurrected the Alaska Miners Association as a volunteer and, in the eighties, formed the Coronado Mining Company, which operated Independence / Willow Creek mines and brought the Golden Zone Mine from a neglected property to a pre-development project. Only in 2014 did Parkinson's disease force Chuck to "retire". That same year, he published his second book, A Kennecott Story, which earned him the Alaska Historical Society’s award for Historian of the Year in 2015. Parkinson's would eventually take his life at his home with Chuck comforted by his family and faith.
Amidst his wide-ranging accomplishments, Chuck will be remembered for his ability to see and, more importantly, bring out the best in people. He gave chances to many whom others overlooked and and they were endlessly rewarded. Experienced miners and cooks were recruited from Anchorage dives, inexperienced school students got first jobs, both natives and hippie bush exiles as well as experienced geologists were employed. Children and adults alike will remember him for his ability to explain difficult concepts - from science, to politics, to religion, to music theory. His legacy lives on through the hundreds of young men and women he mentored and made into extended family, Charles Caldwell Hawley was a true Alaskan legend.
He is survived by his two siblings, Frances Sims (of Arkansas) and John Hawley (of New Mexico), his wife Jenny and their three sons, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made out in his name to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research here: https://www.michaeljfox.org/tribute/tribute-page.php?id=19133.