Peter H.R. Hawkes


Peter H.R. Hawkes died on Dec. 23, 2019, at the age of 96. 

Born in London on August 6, 1923, Peter was raised in Kent, England, and in accordance with British tradition, began boarding school at the Limes at age 7. He attended Dover College from 1938 to 1941, where he thrived in the academic environment and excelled in a number of sports, including cricket and rugby. He then went on to attend St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London. While there, he played cricket for the Surrey County Cricket Club, was honorary secretary for the United Hospitals Cricket Club, and was a member of St. Bart’s Rugby XV.

Peter was a medical student when he met his future wife, Patricia Clegg, a nurse in the same hospital. To skirt hospital rules, they kept their engagement a secret until they could marry in 1946. Two years later, their son Robert was born, and Peter completed his internship in 1949. The family moved to Tunbridge Wells, Kent. In 1953, their daughter Jane was born.

Peter practiced general medicine until 1958, when the family emigrated to the U.S. From 1960 to 1961, he received residency training in psychiatry at Norwich Hospital in Connecticut and Hudson River State Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. In 1961, the family moved to New Britain, Conn., when Peter joined the Grove Hill Clinic in Kensington, Conn. In 1968, the family moved to Southington, Conn. In 1970, Peter became director of psychiatric services at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn. Peter returned to New Britain in 1974 to open a private practice. He continued his practice until he retired in 2007.

In 2007, Peter and Pat moved to Martha’s Vineyard to be closer to family.

A lifelong student, Peter enjoyed reading and researching history, and the study of word origins. He also had an intense passion for the game of golf, which he played for many years until he could no longer meet his personal standard of excellence. He spent many happy hours playing golf at Shuttle Meadow Country Club, where he was a longtime member. He is known for having held the title of senior club champion for five years running, 1983 to ’87.

He was a kind, quiet, and unassuming man with a dry sense of humor. Not perfect, but, as his son said shortly after his death, “he was one of the good guys.” Always a true English gentleman, he maintained a strong belief in truth and fair play.

Peter was predeceased in 2017 by his wife Pat. He is survived by his son Robert, his daughter Jane (wife Allison McKinley), grandson Sebastian Orr (wife Lucy Horns), and daughters-in-law Penny Orr and Sue Soltis.