John Druse Hawk was born May 30, 1924 to Lewis and Margaret Hawk in San Francisco, California. He moved with his parents and two sisters to the Rolling Bay area of Bainbridge Island, WA where he started school in the third grade. He spent a lot of his childhood exploring the back roads and woods of the island and fishing in the bay. In high school he participated in football and sang in a men's glee club.
He graduated from Bainbridge Island High School in June of 1943 and two weeks later, joined the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry, serving under then Lt. General George S. Patton. For action during battle around Chambois, France, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor which was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman in Olympia, WA. During his service years he was awarded 4 Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, Distinguished Conduct Medal from the U.K. Later in life he was inducted into the French Legion of Honor.
Returning to Kitsap County for recuperation, he was treated to a parade in his honor which initiated what is now known as the Armed Forces Day Parade nationwide. Here he met his future wife, Natalene Crandall and they were married June 18, 1948.
He started to further his education at Olympic College, transferring to the University of Washington graduating with a degree in biology and obtaining his teaching certificate. His first teaching position was with Central Kitsap School District at Tracyton Elementary School. Next he transferred to Brownsville Elementary where he taught 6th grade and soon became principal. He was there many years before opening the new Woodlands Elementary as its first principal. He loved teaching and especially supporting his teachers who he claimed were the best staff in the district.
He retired in 1983 after 31 years in the profession and set about remodeling his house for his wife. She died in 1985.
He continued his love of teaching by educating young military personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, instilling them with a sense of pride and patriotism. He never turned down the chance to speak to public school students and in their classrooms.
His stress release was cooking, gardening, woodworking and woodcutting. He also loved to spend time on the water fishing which gave him time to relax and reflect on the world. He also loved to listen to country music, drive around in his truck and spend time on the water.
His family was always the glue that held everything together for him. His first born son, David, died in 1956. His daughter, Marilyn Harrelson (David) and grandson, Brendan, live in Federal Way, WA and son, Mark (Bob Ross) lives in Des Moines, WA. His sister, Dolores Clayton resides in Longview, WA. Numerous members of his extended family cherish wonderful memories of him and the fact he always would reach out to help any way he could.
He was as proud of what he accomplished as an educator as he was as recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. He considered himself to be just an everyday guy. As he said in one of his many public speeches, "I came when I was called and did the best that I could."
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to Puget Sound Honor Flight, PO Box 434, Grapeview, WA 98546 or Bremerton Teen Center, 3102 Wheaton Way, Bremerton, WA, 98310, contact person is Stacy Dore' at 360-440-3735.