Barbara Hawkes, a longtime city clerk in Westbrook and wife of legendary Maine bluegrass musician Al Hawkes, died Dec. 3. She was 86.

The couple operated Hawkes TV repair shop and The Sound Cellar at Hawkes Plaza on Route 302 in Westbrook for 35 years. The landmark plaza is best known for its iconic 13-foot-tall TV repairman sign built by her husband in 1962.

Mrs. Hawkes was remembered by her daughter Tuesday as an amazing woman who loved helping people during her years as city clerk and running the family businesses.

“I called my mom Wonder Woman because she could do everything,” said her daughter, Darleen “Dar” Doughty of Windham. “She was a sweetheart. She loved being in the business with my dad because it had her with people. She just loved people.”

Mrs. Hawkes was a co-owner of the TV shop, Event Recording Studio and the Sound Cellar at Hawkes Plaza. Her responsibilities included purchasing, hiring, accounting and payroll.

Doughty said her mother used to drive to Boston in the 1950s to pick up musicians so they could record in their studio.


“She loved getting to meet the people,” her daughter said. “She loved going to shows to pick out the products. She had a really good sense of what the people would love.”

The Hawkeses closed the TV service shop in 1990, and the landmark repairman has remained all these years.

Mrs. Hawkes was elected Westbrook city clerk in 1994 and served seven two-year terms. Doughty chuckled, saying all of her mother’s election signs were pink and everyone knew who she was. She loved helping people and researching birth and marriage certificates from years ago, Doughty said.

“She would say to dad, ‘I’m going to bring fishing and hunting licenses home,’ Doughty recalled. “She always had them in the house because someone always wanted to go last minute and forgot their license. She would open the door, ‘Come on in,’ and then hold them captive and talk for hours. She loved visiting with people. She was quite a lady.”

Mrs. Hawkes and her husband were married for 66 years and raised two children. Her son, Franklin Hawkes, ran the Sound Cellar with his father. Doughty ran the TV department with her mother. Franklin Hawkes died in 1979 after a car accident with a drunk driver. He was 21.

“It rocked her entire world,” her daughter said. “Dad kind of fell apart for a while and mom was the rock that held us together until dad could pull himself together. She was the one that kept everything going and moving.”


Doughty reflected on her early years, noting her mother always made time for her family. She said they loved going to the beach together. She laughed while recalling the year her mom bought a dirt bike so she could ride with her husband and son. The Hawkes men taught her to ride the bike in a parking lot.

“It was hysterical when she bought the dirt bike,” her daughter said. “When she got home she pulled that sucker out and went down the driveway. She said, ‘You guys aren’t leaving me behind anymore. I’m going with you.’ She always found time for us kids.”

An accomplished seamstress, Ms. Hawkes made her husband’s Western shirts for his performances.

“She was a hell of a seamstress,” her daughter said. “She always made sure I had Barbie doll clothes. She would stay up all night on Christmas eve and make them. As I got older, I realized that she probably just dropped down on her pillow when us kids were jumping out of bed. I was so loved by my mother.”

Mrs. Hawkes regularly attended her husband’s performances. She traveled with him to bluegrass festivals throughout Maine, New York and Vermont.

Friends are invited to a time of visitation from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church, 810 Main St. in Westbrook. A service will be held at noon, followed by a reception in fellowship hall. In a Facebook post, Al Hawkes asked that musician friends bring acoustic string instruments to play. He has asked that people play gospel music in her honor.


Doughty said her father’s health is declining. He has Parkinson’s disease and dementia and is unable to walk.

She said her father will probably bring his mandolin, but is struggling to hold the picks.

“He may not remember some words, but he is still ever the wise-mouth entertainer who likes to crack a joke and engage the people,” she said. “But this day is all about mama. This one time, we’re going to make this all about mama.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MelanieCreamer

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