Forest Service dedicates station to Hawksworths |

Forest Service dedicates station to Hawksworths

Provided to the Tribune
Provided to the Tahoe Daily Tribune Maribeth Gustafson, LTBMU forest supervisor, joins members of Jim Hawksworth's family as they admire the plaque dedicated to Jim and Donna. From left are Gustafson; son David Hawksworth, wife Donna Hawksworth, and mother Alice Hawksworth, all of Mariposa, Calif., and brother Tom Hawksworth of Hopland, Calif.

“He was an honorable man, a gentleman,” said Eric Hildinger in his tribute to longtime Forest Service wrangler Jim Hawksworth.

He made the remark as 175 friends, family and associates joined together to celebrate Jim’s memory and the designation of the Lake Valley Pack Station in honor of Jim and his wife, Donna Hawksworth. The station off Upper Truckee Road is now to be known as the Hawksworth Pack Station.

Jim and Donna married in 1957, came to the Pack Station in 1965 and worked from that base until Jim’s death in 2002. As longtime friend and Mariposa rancher Frank Long noted, “He was the last of the mountain men; he lived in a different world.”

Stories and poems, both humorous and throat catching, were relayed by those who had worked with Jim – Susan Fredericks, who met the Hawksworths in 1974; Randy Mundt, who worked with Jim in the early 1970s; Bob Hill, a 1974 recreation tech; Kristin Leal, a life-long family friend; Butch Hays, an early 1970s ranger; Bill Morgan, Forest Supervisor in the 1970s; Mark Morris, who camped with Jim as a teenager in the early 1960s and is now a district ranger in Washington; and concluding remarks by Forest Supervisor Maribeth Gustafson.

As Morgan said, “Jim was a throwback to the Forest Service of earlier days – follow the handbook and do what’s necessary. He had no concept of an 8-hour day, didn’t know the meaning of overtime and tackled any assignment as ‘no problem.'”

Morris read from letters and poems written by Hawksworth, an exchange that began in 1965.

Gustafson noted that Hawksworth was an individualist, adding that Jim identified himself as a “simple packer,” avoiding promotions and office contact, all the while teaching the Forest Service how to manage the woods. She concluded her remarks by unveiling the plaque that honors Jim and Donna Hawksworth and designates the site in their name. The plaque was designed by Ed Laine and sculpted by Dave Foster of Lake Tahoe Community College.

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