Wayne A. Hawxhurst

Wayne A. Hawxhurst, 87, of Key West, Fla., passed away from an extended illness and battle with cancer at Lower Keys Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, with his family by his side.

He was a devoted husband to his wife, Susan, and loving father to his son, Peter.

Wayne was an only child, born May 25, 1924, in Indiana, Pa., and was preceded in death by his parents, Jackson and Lucy Alderfer Hawxhurst, and his first wife, Rose Jane (Mc Cardle) Hawxhurst, a former teacher at Key West High School. Wayne attended the Keith Laboratory School on the campus of what is now known as the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and graduated from the Indiana High School.

His first job was working in the coal mines of Indiana as a surveyor until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a motor machinist. He served in the Pacific Theater as a chief engineer in World War II from 1943 to 1946, receiving an honorable discharge. After the service, he returned to Indiana, Pa., and studied the plumbing trade, becoming a master plumber. During this period, he was the owner-operator of a plumbing and heating firm in Pennsylvania.

He later switched careers and studied art education, completing his bachelor's degree in 1953 at the State College in Indiana, Pa. The next year he moved to Key West and became an art teacher in the Monroe County School District. In 1954, he made Key West his final home, except for a few short stays in Pennsylvania. His career with the Monroe County School District included assignments at Key West High School teaching art and wood shop in the Adult Education evening program. He was the curriculum coordinator in art for the School Board, served as the DCT administrator at KWHS in the 60's, and taught industrial art and crafts and drafting and mechanical drawing until about 1979.

In 1970, Mr. Hawxhurst completed his studies and was awarded a Master of Art Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in his hometown of Indiana, Pa. Toward the end of his career he left KWHS and joined the staff of the Florida Keys Community College as chairman and instructor of the Art and Ceramics Department, and assisted in the preparation and opening of the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center. Upon retirement, Wayne still continued to teach part-time at KWHS night school wood shop classes, and was an intake counselor for the Job Training Partnership Act (JPTA).

Wayne enjoyed being a member of the Key West Moose Lodge #1760, American Legion Post #28 and Key West Orchid Society, Retired Teachers Group, and was a life member of the Key West Arts and Historical Society. He exhibited much of his ceramics and sculpture creations at the West Martello and FKCC Library Gallery.

He was an avid reader of American and English history, and English mystery novels. He regularly visited FKCC and the Public Library. Wayne enjoyed sailing on his sailboat around the waters of Key West. He collected old bottles and driftwood, which he turned into several unique pieces of art, and exhibited it in local galleries on Duval Street and the Society of Sculpture in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dennis Pharmacy's restaurant was his favorite place to eat when it was open. He enjoyed being in a town with so many longtime friends and exchanging old stories of Key West history. His best friend was Dr. William H. Martin of Lake Wales, Fla., also a former teacher at KWHS. Wayne was made an Honorary Conch in Mayor Dixie Spehar's tenure and that was a proud moment for him.

On Dec. 5, 2011, Wayne and Susan celebrated 41 years of marriage. Wayne will be remembered for his kindness and caring for others, his love for his pets, and his devotion to education.

Special thanks to his medical caregivers and doctors: Dr. Boros, Dr. Seleme, Dr. Kalies, Keys Cancer Center, Dr. Covington, Dr. Whiteshide, Dr. Beysolow, the VNA Association, Monroe County Social Services' in-home services and nutrition program.

In lieu of flowers, an Arts and Craft Scholarship Fund for KWHS graduating seniors has been set up with First State Bank. Donations can be made payable to Susan Hawxhurst at First State Bank in memory of Wayne Hawxhurst.

Castillo and Thurston Key West Mortuary is in charge of all arrangements.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011, at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Truman Avenue.