Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Loving Memory of My Mother and Happy Birthday!

Today would have been your 61 birthday if you were still here.  What a wonderful privilege to know you, mother!   In 1980, my mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  Although it was difficult growing up with her because we didn't understand her illness, we were so blessed to have her as our mother.  I always knew that she loved me and my siblings.  She was a lot of fun and did so many things for us!  Many other health problems occurred later in her life such as diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson disease. It was extremely difficult for me watching her body deteriorate during the last year of her life.  It was a sudden heart attack that took her life last week. Even though a piece of my heart is missing, I am very grateful that she is no longer suffering on this earth.   She never complained and truly endured to the end!  What an amazing reward she got in heaven!   Thank you for EVERYTHING and Happy Birthday, Mom!  I love you!  XOXOXO
Jill Dawn Hawley July 13, 1950-July 4, 2011.

This poem was found in my Mother's Book of Remembrance. I want to say that she wrote it but I am not certain of that fact.


Mothers are our first love,
They give us much understanding,
No greater calling from above.

Most often they can be a friend,
A choice and noble teacher,
Striving patiently to attend.

A mother is one who cares,
She can be trusted with secrets,
Helping to repair human tares.

When I know she is there,
To help with special needs,
Her love is golden and fair.

As I walk my life's paths,
I reach for her guidance,
Finding joys and sore laughs.

With unconditional love so great,
Our eternal bond will never break,
Enduring trials in bending faith.

Author Unknown

One hundred years from now it will not matter how much money I had, the kind of house I lived in, or the kind of clothes that I wore, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. ~Unknown Author

Celebrating the Life of Jill Dawn Hawley by Jennifer Free

Jill Dawn Hawley was born on July 13, 1950 in Santa Monica, California. When she was two years old, she was adopted by Mary Ed Smith Killitz and George Fred Killitz. She had one brother Jeffery Killitz. She grew up in Reseda, California.

While attending school she enjoyed the following subjects: English, Spanish, and photography. Her favorite colors were pink and yellow. One of her favorite memories of growing up was receiving home made doll clothes from her grandmother and going to the movies with her Father. Although Jill had many challenges during her life, she was extremely intelligent and accomplished in many incredible things.

After high school graduation, Jill served four years as a Sargent in the United States Air Force in 1968-1972. She worked as a computer operator and in the base supply department for the military at Otis Air Force Base, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In 1971, she received the George Washington Honor Medal Award at Valley Forge Pennsylvania for her outstanding essay titled “What Is An American?” How very symbolic that she peacefully died on the 4th of July.

On February 13, 1971, she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Becoming a member of the church changed her life! She absolutely loved the gospel and had a strong testimony through out her life. She enjoyed reading her scriptures faithfully, taking family history classes, doing genealogy, and attending the temple.

She graduated from Brigham Young University in 1974 with a bachelor degree in communications/journalism. She had her own broadcasting news show at BYU. She was a talented writer. She enjoyed writing poems. She even wrote a book, which she never had a chance to publish. On November 28, 1980, a family home evening article written by her was published in The Cape Cod Times newspaper. Even with poor health the last few months while living at the nursing home, she continued sharing her talent of writing by submitting articles for Orem Nursing and Rehabilitation's monthly newsletter.

She served a stake mission in San Jose, California in 1975 and worked at General Electric. She also completed training and worked as a homemaker certified home heath aid in 1976.

She married Vernon Coleman on October 21, 1975, later divorced in 1989. They had three children Jennifer, Karen, and Nate. The privilege of motherhood was her most wonderful blessing from God. Her children were her masterpieces during her life. She found comfort being among her children. Some of our early childhood memories of her included: her reading bible stories to us, having family home evening, and making fun treats like mini cherry tarts, apple crisp, chocolate chip cookies, and tiny peanut butter and jam sandwiches after school for snacks. She found joy in taking us to the park, swimming, skating, shopping, and drove us around all over the place. She was an extremely patient Mother to us and loved us very much.

In 1981, she went back to school at BYU to fulfill her dream of teaching. She was interested in teaching special needs kids. She gave up her teaching career after doing a couple substitution teaching positions because she decided it was more important to be a full time Mom at home raising her children.

My mother absolutely loved music! I recall her singing as well as playing the piano and guitar. My mother also composed some of her own music many years ago. I was impressed that she learned how to play the piano by ear with few piano lessons. She loved listening to the church hymns and enjoyed serving as the ward chorister or piano player.

My mother loved to create many homemade things. My sister and I wore many dresses all sewn by her loving hands. She made us doll clothes too. Crocheting hooks and knitting needles as well as colorful yarn were always nearby her side. She made several blankets, slippers, baby items, out of her beautiful string.

When my sister and I were in girl scouts, she served as our leader. She also volunteered at our schools and worked part time as a crossing guard. She loved being among young children.

She married her sweetheart Dennis Errol Hawley on May 25, 1996, later sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple on May 26, 1998. She was happily married to Dennis and loved him very much. She enjoyed cooking for him. They spent a lot of time together watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Around this time, she was working at Wasatch Mental Health as a secretary.

In 2001, she was able to obtain the names of her Dutch descendent birth parents: Lucille Smith Pilgrim (1908) and Ford Pilgrim (1890) of California who are preceded in her death. It took several years for the State of California to finally release that important information to her since it was confidential and sealed records. What a great relief for her to finally know the names of her birth parents.

Jill was a wonderful grandmother to her four grandchildren Kyler, Audrey, Kanyen, and Savannah. She loved seeing her grandchildren, attending their special occasions, and spoiling them. They will continue to live on this earth knowing her wonderful legacy that she left behind.

Jill was always known for her gentle sensitive loving spirit, her warm beautiful smile, great example, and kind heart that touched many lives. Jill will be missed dearly by her family and many beloved friends. She always asked her children, “Was I a good mother to you kids?” We always assured her she was the best mother to us! We were so blessed to have her as our mother! We never doubted her love for us. On behalf of my brother, sister, and me, we honor and salute you, dear mother. You are now free to do what you loved best on this earth serving others and sharing the gospel. We love you mother and will never forget you.


John said...

Absolutely wonderful Jen!!! Your mom would have so proud to hear you say she was such a great Mother! Your love and compassion for her comes through loud and clear!!! Your mother was such a wonderful person, you are showing more of her kindness and caring that she was known for!

Van Coleman said...

That was such a beautiful tribute to your Mother. I am very proud of you my Daughter. Your loving and kind spirit is just like your Mom's. May God comfort you in knowing that she will be waiting in all her Celestial Glory for her family into the Eternities. Love, Dad

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Donna said...

A loving and beautiful tribute, Jen. Do you have any family pictures of the Killitz family?

Donna said...

George Killitz was a son of Robert and Mary Emma Killitz. Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer said...

Hello Donna, I don't have many pictures of my mother's Killitz family. She lost some of her stuff in a fire a while back and didn't stay in contact with her family much after she got married and moved away. I always wished I got to meet her family.