Cover photo for Byron Kenneth Hawkins's Obituary
Byron Kenneth Hawkins Profile Photo
1928 Byron 2022

Byron Kenneth Hawkins

April 24, 1928 — July 22, 2022

Byron Kenneth Hawkins, 94, formerly of Durham died on Friday, July 22, 2022, at Brunswick Health and Rehab Center in Ash, N.C.  He was born in Stokes County, North Carolina, on April 24, 1928, to the late Sam Frank Hawkins and Annie Lane Highfil Hawkins.

Byron Kenneth Hawkins grew up on a small poultry and tobacco farm in Richmond County, North Carolina.  It was on that small, rural farm that Mr. Hawkins’ aspirations for high achievement took hold.  Even in high school, he began to prepare himself for future success as a member of his high school Beta Club and as President of his local Future Farmers of America chapter.  He won the State Farmer Award his senior year. 

After high school and three years of service in the U.S. Army Air Forces, Mr. Hawkins entered NC State University in 1949.  He graduated with a B.S. in Poultry Science.

Mr. Hawkins’ long career in the poultry business began in 1953 as a Poultry Extension Agent in Chatham County, NC.  Two years later he joined the Central Carolina Farmers Exchange, Inc. in Durham, NC, as a broiler serviceman and progressed to the position of Processing Plant/Sales Manager in 1965.  In 1965, Central Carolina Farmers (CCF) became affiliated with Gold Kist Broiler Division in Durham, and Mr. Hawkins continued as Processing Plant Manager.  In 1971, he rose to the position of North Carolina Division Manager and he held that position until 1984, also managing a joint venture between FCX and Gold Kist.  In 1984, he became the Executive Vice President of Carolina Golden Products (owned by Gold Kist) in Durham, holding that title until 1985.  In 1986, Mr. Hawkins became a Consultant for Golden Poultry in Durham.  He served as a Poultry Extension Area Agent from 1988-1993 for Chatham, Randolph, Moore, and Richmond Counties.

Mr. Hawkins was one of the pioneers of the poultry food industry.  Among his many innovative contributions and visionary technique refinements, he helped originate and develop the bulk weighing procedure for poultry received at processing plants; he worked with researchers at NC State to develop a scientific procedure for figuring weights to accommodate shrinking in trucking live poultry; he coordinated grant funds for a study that resulted in significant reduction in the amount of water needed to process birds; and he was one of the first in the industry to ship poultry using dry ice.

Mr. Hawkins was an active leader in the poultry industry and served for more than ten years as President of the N.C. Poultry Processors Association; as a past President of the Southeastern Poultry Processors Council; as a member of the North Carolina Poultry Federation’s Board of Directors and its President from 1977-78; and as the 1974 Chairman of the National Chicken Cooking Contest - the first in North Carolina.

Mr. Hawkins’ strong leadership capabilities were recognized by his local community.  For twenty years, he served as a Trustee of Durham Technical College, assuming the role after appointments from former NC Governors Bob Scott and James B. Hunt, Jr.  Other local leadership roles and areas of community service included: the Tobaccoland Kiwanis Club, Jaycees, the Agricultural Extension Advisory Council, the Agricultural Advisory Council, NC State Alumni Association, and President of the Durham County NC State Wolfpack Club.

In honor of his numerous contributions to the growth and development of the poultry industry, the North Carolina Poultry Federation inducted Byron Kenneth Hawkins into the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame in 1997.  Before his death, he gifted to NC State University an endowment fund for the purpose of establishing a poultry science graduate student endowment in his name.

Byron was a devoted NC State Wolfpack fan.  For years, he and Jean attended football, basketball, and baseball games, and were in attendance to see the NC State basketball teams win the national championship in 1974 and in 1983.

Byron was a member of Duke Memorial Methodist Church and greatly enjoyed the Open Door sunday school class.  He often volunteered to help fold and stuff the bulletins for upcoming services.

Byron was a devoted and loving husband who cherished his wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his loving wife of 55 years, Jean Beal Hawkins, his half brother L.J. Gann, and brother George Hawkins.

He is survived by daughter Carole Yount Everett (Dennis) of Little River, SC; son Dr. J. Daniel Robinson III (Tanya) of Wallace; granddaughter June Avery Capps Chrismon (Channing) of Gibsonville; grandson Dr. Byron Earl Capps (Christine) of Bethesda, MD; great grandchildren Avery-Grace Chrismon and Byron Reid Chrismon; and Kathryn Celia “Kiki” Capps; brother Francis Hawkins (Linda), sister Jean Stutts, and numerous nieces and nephews, and especially one special nephew, Gary Stutts, who was a great help to him over the past few years, and a special friend Jean Senna.

A memorial service will be held at Duke Memorial Methodist Church, 504 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham, NC  27701 on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.  The family will receive friends following the services in the church parlor.  Rev. Heather Rodriguez will officiate.

Our many thanks go to the staff at Brunswick Health and Rehab Center and to Lower Cape Fear Lifecare.

Donations can be made to Brunswick Health and Rehab Center, 9600 Number 5 School Road, NW, Ash, NC  28420, or to Lower Cape Fear Lifecare, 1414 Physicians Dr., Wilmington, NC  28401, or to NC State University Gifts and Records Management, Campus Box 7474, Raleigh, NC  27695-7474 for Byron Hawkins Poultry Science Graduate Student Endowment.

Arrangements for the Hawkins family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in Durham.  Online memorials:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Byron Kenneth Hawkins, please visit our flower store.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree