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Memorial Tributes, Volume 11
WILLIS M. HAWKINS
Elected in 1966
“For design and development of aircraft, missile, and space systems.”
BY SHERMAN N. MULLIN
WILLIS MOORE HAWKINS, retired senior vice president and director of Lockheed Corporation, died of natural causes at his home in Woodland Hills, California, on September 28, 2004. He was 90 years old.
Willis was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 1, 1913, but spent most of his early life in Michigan. He prepared for college at the Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, Michigan, a unique private academy, which he generously supported all his life. His love of airplanes started early and continued until the day he died. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1937, which also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree in 1965. Willis was an exceptional student, noted for his amazing memory and impeccable printing on papers and examinations. These became lifelong traits.
In June 1937, an uncle gave Willis a new Model A Ford, which he and a classmate, Jack Duffendack, drove from Ann Arbor to Burbank, California, to start work at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Willis began as a draftsman on July 1, 1937, initiating an association that lasted 67 years. He advanced rapidly, becoming manager of an engineering department in 1944, when Lockheed employment reached a World War II high of 94,000. He was involved in the design of many propeller-driven airplanes, including the four-engine Constellation transport, which was flown by