Remembering Jack Hawke

Jack Hawke, a mainstay of Republican Party politics in North Carolina during the past five decades, passed away on Monday at the age of 72.

Since he first entered politics in the late 1960s, Hawke played an instrumental role in shifting North Carolina from one-party rule to a competitive, two-party state.

In addition to running for Congress, heading up congressional and gubernatorial campaigns for other candidates, and serving as N.C. Republican Party Chairman, Hawke was the first executive director of the John William Pope Civitas Institute.

Art Pope, Chairman and President of the John William Pope Foundation, recalled Hawke’s optimistic outlook on life, as reported by The News & Observer:

Hawke’s style was always the happy warrior. He was a natural extrovert with a ready smile, a sunny disposition and a quip. His trademark expression: “Fan-tastic.”

“He was always so positive and enthusiastic, even in the face of adversity, in bad results as well as good results,” Pope said. “He was knowledgeable. He was able to present advice, even when it was not appreciated, in a positive fashion. He can tell the bad news along with the good news.”

Even when he delivered bad news, Pope said, Hawke always had a plan of action.

Francis De Luca, current President of the Civitas Institute, commemorated Hawke as a cheerful emblem of North Carolina’s progress:

In many ways Jack was emblematic of the transitions North Carolina has gone through in the past fifty years. He came to North Carolina to attend law school at Duke, and he stayed. Jack was involved in most of the state’s political and policy developments from the Sixties on, and was on the leading edge of the movement to take North Carolina from a stagnant one-party state to today’s robust two-party system.

Claude Pope, N.C. Republican Party Chairman, issued the following statement after Hawke’s passing:

The North Carolina Republican Party extends our deepest condolences to Jack’s family and the many friends he made throughout his life. Jack’s tremendous devotion to North Carolina, his sheer political brilliance, and his legendary sense of humor will be sorely missed.

Jack was the longest serving chairman in the NCGOP’s history, and he was instrumental in building the party from the ground up. Without Jack’s enormous contributions to the NCGOP over the last several decades, we would not have a Republican Governor and Republican-controlled General Assembly for the first time in more than 100 years.

John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation, shares several anecdotes from Hawke’s political career here.

Photo credit: Don Carrington, Carolina Journal.