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- Fordham Athletics
"I met Bob as a student at Fordham and worked with him over the last ten years. I feel extremely fortunate to have known Bob personally, and truly see what being a "Man of Fordham" is. Thank you Bob."
"As an alumnus of both Fordham Prep and Fordham University, I cannot begin to express my sadness for the passing of Mr. Hawthorn. I knew him as most Prepsters did, as a math teacher and someone with a quiet smile and faster wit. He was a true gentleman and a real man of Fordham. He will be missed!"
"I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my former coach, Bob Hawthorn. I had the honor and pleasure to play for Bob on the Fordham Tennis team from 1987-1991. He was a man truly committed to his family, students at the Prep. his tennis and squash players, and patients as a registered nurse. He truly gave so much of himself to so many at Fordham Prep and the University and never asked for much in return. He will be truly missed by so many who loved this man most especially myself and the principles that he stood for. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with his family."
"Please extend prayers to the family on their great loss. Bob was an great tribute to Fordham."
"To the family of Bob Hawthorn: Please accept my condolences on the passing of Bob. I had the pleasure of playing both tennis and squash for him and fondly remember him for his leadership and dedication to both sports and to Fordham."
- "I am very saddened to hear the news today that Bob Hawthorn has passed away. My deepest sympathies and prayers go out to Eileen and the entire Hawthorn family on the loss of a real true gentleman and Fordham legend. Bob was a large part of my years at Rose Hill. I can still remember the day I met Bob. It was September, 1972. After class, I walked over to the Prep and introduced myself, telling him that I would like to play squash for him. We formed an instant bond, and it was the first day of many that we ultimately would spend together over the next few years talking about squash and life.
I recall fondly the road trips in his station wagon to outposts like Lancaster, Amherst and Williamstown, where the banter was lively, and his sarcastic wit was always on display. The practice sessions at Dunwoodie, too, came to mean hours together with players helping each other--a habit he instilled in all of us.
Bob was a handsome, good looking man, always well-dressed, always aware that this was about much more than squash. It was about respect, fair play, gentlemanly behavior and hard work, all the while cognizant of the fact that we represented Fordham.
His encouragement and his desire to extract the best from his players will always stand out for me. My very first intercollegiate match took place on a cold December day at West Point. Paired against a very fit opponent on the exhibition court, I lost the first point of the match. Glancing up at the gallery, I saw Bob, the lone civilian standing among seventy-five gray uniforms who were screaming at the top of their lungs and stomping on the floor to create even more of a ruckus. With that little smile of his, he shot me a look that said, "We may be outnumbered, but I'm behind you all the way." I can remember how proud he was after the match and unafraid to show it. The encouragement he offered me that day has stayed with me to this day. Prior to the start of my senior year, my parents offered to host a "kickoff" dinner at our home. I can still see Bob saying grace as all nine of us sat around the dining room table. We were his second family; we were his team of young men; and we looked up to him.
Years later, I look back and know he was our mentor, and a natural teacher. It was clear how much he cared. He embraced us and he never let go of us. I will always consider myself fortunate not only to have played for Bob, but more importantly to have known him."
"Kindly provide my condolences to Bob's family. Bob meant a lot to me and made a deep impact on my life. I owe him a lot."
"I just heard the sad news today that Bob Hawthorn passed away. I was one of the fortunate members of the Fordham community who had a chance to be coached by Bob as a member of the squash team from 2005-2008. Bob meant a lot to me and all of my teammates that I played with. He not only taught us a great sport, but taught us how to be men. I was fortunate enough to be awarded the MVP award for the 2007-08 season. I remember taking a picture with Bob at the Block F dinner along with Co-MVP, Charlie Sterken. That award is something that I truly cherish."
"My deepest sympathies to the entire Hawthorn family. Bob was not only a great coach but a great person. He had a great influence on my life on and off the court. Bob shared his wisdom every chance he had and was not afraid to tell you the truth. He definitely left a positive imprint on my life. Bob will be truly missed. At this moment I am rethinking of all the memories I had with Bob and I am tearing, but at the same time smiling because I know deep down his memories will last forever."
"I'm very saddened at the passing of Coach Hawthorn. Coming from a 'rival' school, we always looked forward to playing Fordham and seeing Coach Hawthorn. On behalf of the SUNY Stony Brook squash teams from 1981-84, please accept our condolences on the death of this fine man and coach."
"Dear Eileen and Family, Please except my sincere condolences at your time of loss. It has truly saddened me to learn of the passing of your loved one, he will be truley missed by all. My family and I are wishing each one of you God Speed."
"My condolences. I knew him as a good man when he was head coach. He taught me quite a few things about life I'll never forget. My thoughts and best wishes go out to you."
"I will miss Bob very much; a great, great man. He always brought his Fordham squash team to the Naval Academy for our Veterans Weekend squash round robin. I will always remember his stories about his father taking him to the Army/Navy game. I will miss Bob very much. My heart goes out to his family. God Bless."
- Ed Busch
"Dear Eileen, Bob, Billy, John, Missy, Liz, and Mary, Your Husband/Dad was one of the most influential men in my life. I was prepared to leave Fordham after 1st semester freshman year until I was "discovered" by Rick St. Jean and then "accepted" by Bob as a walk-on to the tennis team and found my identity among his family/team. Bob taught me toughness, how to be direct with criticism, how to carry myself as a gentleman (he tried!), humility and winning and losing with dignity, how to lead men, and how to compete in life. Bob's approval meant as much to me as my own Dad's approval. Over the years I have carried the lessons Bob taught me into my professional life...and with some success I might add.
Earlier in my professional life (back in the early-mid 90's) I would call Bob at home to tell him how I was doing...I busily told him every accolade I had accomplished...still seeking the affirmation that was so coveted as a player. Without fail, he would remark "that's nice....you make it sound like you're the president...Frankly, I'm just glad that you're happy." In a way that is so "Bob," he was telling me it wasn't important how high I was on the ladder (and a jab that I was overplaying my importance) - but what mattered most was that I was happy and enjoying the ride.
I always loved tennis and squash because there is no where to hide. It's just you and the other guy trying to beat you. It can be lonely out there, especially when things aren't going your way. On more than a few occasions I'd be in the middle of the wrong side of a beat down on the court...usually at that time I'd like to make eye contact with Bob. That eye contact would give me what I needed. It was always either one of two things from him: 1) a calm look and a tightening of his jaw with a clenched fist imploring me to toughen up and make a run....or 2) a laugh and a look that said, "I've got nothing for you kid, this guy is gonna kill you!"
There were some individual athletic moments I hold on to from my days in college with Bob that I use from time to time to encourage myself: Handily losing every single squash match I played in 1985-6, Being named Captain of squash team in 1989, Earning the MVP honor for squash in 1989 with my parents in attendance at the Athletic Dinner, Winning the 3rd flight of National Team Tournament and winning my match vs Amherst to help us win 5-4, Talking to Walid Badawi after he lost the 1st game of his squash match to Amherst in Nat'l Tourney and seeing him go back out and blow the guy away in 3 straight games to seal the win for Fordham, Rising to #4 as a sophomore on team for tennis and advancing to the finals of the MAAC individual flight.
What really shaped me was the comradery I had with the teams Bob assembled. He was our Captain and the patriarch of the family that will forever tie us together.
Bob, I know you are there in heaven still watching over us "from the gallery".... I Iove you and thank you for what you did for me and my family. To the Hawthorns, thank you for sharing so much of your husband/Dad with so many young men who needed him. I mourn with you and pray for your peace."
"Dear Eileen and family, I was shocked and saddened at hearing about Bob's passing away. Whenever I saw him in the past few years he seemed trim and fit as ever. He was too young to leave us. He was a wonderful man, great coach, teacher and friend. I first met him when he was the star of the College's tennis team and I was just beginning to play. I mostly remember him from squash though. He was a great player and coach. The old size courts were a real problem. It's too bad he couldn't have been coaching now. Again, my most heartfelt condolences to you and your family."
"Dear Mrs. Hawthorn, My deepest condolences at your loss. I played tennis and squash for your husband at Fordham 1986 -1990. I am thankful for the scholarship which he gave me and the oppurtunity to learn squash from him. I wish your family all the best, remember all the good times you had with him and all the love he has shown you and your family."
"I truly believe this past Sunday Heaven transcended PERFECTION. All our love to the Hawthorn Family."
- Chris O'Connor '93
"As Bob's Daughter In law, I have been blessed to have witnessed Bob as a grandfather. Thank you Fordham alumni for sharing all the stories for which we can perpetuate his grandchildren's memories and understanding of who Bob was, the lasting impact he has on so many and how he lived his life!"
"He was indeed a Fordham treasure. How he's helped shape so many lives as a coach, a teacher and a leader. I have fond memories of Mr. Hawthorn being just my roomate's dad. Always so friendly and gracious, he was a very special man. Mrs. Hawthorn, Bob, Bill, John, Missy, Lizzie, Annie and Mary and all the Hawthorn family, I am so very sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace. Love, Maggie
"Simply put, Bob Hawthorn was a wonderful man."
- Andrew Cordova '93 - Maryland Club, Squash Professional
"Mr. Hawthorn was always a dapper presence on campus in Rose Hill and epitomized the Fordham tennis tradition. Sincere wishes of sympathy to his family."
"Eileen: Sorry to hear of Bob's passing--My brief relationship during Rick's Fordham years left me with great respect for your Husbands unselfish devotion to his work. His players were so fortunate to have a coach of his caliber and a second Father to guide them into adult life."
"Bob changed my experience at Fordham dramatically beginning with my second semester of Freshman year. I had been exposed to squash through my family, but never aspired to play on the collegiate level. Bob took me on as a walk-on and taught me the game with great patience, passion and commitment. It was a steep learning curve at first, but slowly I understood the games nuances and the lessons on the court creeping into my life off the court. It helped me physically and academically from that point forward-achieving a 3.7 that second semester and losing over 50 pounds! Without Bob my college experience would have been very different, and for that I will forever be indebted. I still love squash and all that it represents and I am still active with the game. Thanks Bob-you will be missed by family, friends and squash/tennis players whose lives you changed for the better."
"I am a better man, better husband and better father because of the life lessons Bob taught me. His spirit will live on as I teach my daughter these same lessons on caring, compassion and kindness. My deepest condolences to the Hawthorn family. I am very sorry for your loss."
"It is with with great sadness to hear of the passing of Bob Hawthorn. Being a young coach in the conference, Mr. Hawthorn was always somebody I looked up to as somebody who knew he was in a position to be impactful on young people, treasured that role, and made certain he was going to be a good influence on everybody he came in contact with. It was very apparent that Mr. Hawthorn was a man with a strong set of values and ethics that he lived by everyday. He will be missed among the Fordham and Atlantic 10 communities. My thoughts and prayers are with the Hawthorn family."
"As the youngest of four brothers who played for Bob, I think I speak for my entire family in passing along our deepest condolences to the Hawthorn family for the loss of a great man who gave so much to us and to Fordham. His dedication to the school, the game and his players is legendary. Bob was kind enough to welcome me from the soccer team my freshman year, and provided unwavering support as I worked my way up the ladder to eventually serve as squash captain. I thank Bob for helping instill in me the love for a great game that I still play regularly, and I have no doubt that endearing stories about Bob will continue to flow freely for many years to come. May he rest in peace."
"I first met Bob when I was a Freshman at Fordham Prep. He was my math teacher and my homeroom teacher. He was a great teacher and a lot of fun as the homeroom teacher. I saw him quite often at the Prep and at the University courts over the next 3 years. In my senior year of High School he paid me the highest compliment by recruiting me to Fordham U. How could anybody turn Bob down. So I went to Fordham. The rest is history ! We had some great times ! We worked hard and played tough Tennis & Squash thanks to Bob. I could go on all day about Bob and the teams and friends just like any of the lucky ones who played for Bob. However a couple of things stuck me that I would like to share. One of the most surprising things about Bob was his love for the Marching Bands. I cannot recall all the different bands but it was always a gas to enter a Campus with Bob blasting some military song to get us pumped ! Bob also felt the need to give his players life experiences. I remember on our first trip we had to go on a Freedom Trail walking tour of Boston . He was more than just a coach he was a Life Guide ! When he spoke of the team would he always mention the "spirit de corps " ! We are all lucky to have met Bob and play for him and play with him. He has had a profound impact on me and so many. As a teacher at Fordham Prep Bob became very involved with the Jesuit credo of "Men for others " and he spent quite a bit of time volunteering and helping others get involved with Calvary Hospital as well as Rosary Hill and other places. I was fascinated when I learned that he took it to the next level and got his Nursing License. So at one point he was a Husband, a Father, a Teacher, a Mentor , a Coach and a Nurse - what a Life ! Even George Bailey would be jealous.
Rest in peace Bob and thanks for all the Memories Don BOB! My sympathies to the Hawthorne family.
"I worked in the Fordham athletic department from 1995 to 2002 and loved working with Bob. I was always amazed at his energy and enthusiasm for his athletes. You could see he loved coaching and Fordham. Bob always told me to speak my mind and was a tremendous stand up guy. I was sorry to hear of us his passing today. My condolences to his entire family and the Fordham community who will miss him."
- Pat Yuen, Fordham Tennis & Squash 1974
"Bob was an incredibly unusual coach as I have no doubt that God made Bob to be a coach. He felt the game was for everyone with the desire and ability to play. I had a bone disease at a young age which impaired my hip. Seeing me walk with a limp at team tryouts did not phase Bob. His philosophy was embracive. In my years on the team, he encouraged others with less than perfect bodies to try out. What college coach does this? Only the rarest of coaches. His lessons on inclusiveness, not making snap judgments, and fair play have remained with me my entire life. All who played for him will never forget his values. My deepest sympathies to his family."
"I was deeply saddened to learn that Bob Hawthorn passed away. He was a classy man with high integrity. Bob will be long and pleasantly remembered for his infectious smile, his cheerful demeanor and his respect for others. I will especially miss our shared interest and enthusiasm for the pomp and ceremony of British Military Tattoo, Scotland. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him."
"To the Hawthorn family - I was so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad, Bob Hawthorn. My family grew up with the Hawthorn family at the NYAC at Travers Island in Pelham Manor, we went to Ursuline with his girls, played tennis growing up with the family, and I attended Fordham University (1982-86) and saw him there again as coach/friend. He was a great man and a nice person!! You are all in our thoughts and prayers!!"
"Dear Eileen and Family: It was with great sadness that I heard of Bob's passing. I was deeply influenced by my time with him. Blessed with a squash or tennis event almost daily during my four years, the life's lessons Bob taught first became a routine and eventually a mantra which I still live by today: have high expectations of yourself, work hard, play to win, but never sacrifice your integrity.
The great pride I took representing Fordham while giving Bob the effort that expected and deserved are things I haven't and will never forget. While he may no longer be here with us, Bob will live on in the hearts and souls of the generations of boys turned to men who became better people for the time they spent with him."
"I had the privilege to play for Coach Hawthorn in the late 1970's, and remember that experience with enormous fondness. During this Lenten season, I will remember him in my prayers. My very deepest condolences to the Hawthorn Family."
"I just found out the very sad news of Don Bob's passing. I hope this reaches the Hawthorn family. I send you my condolences and share in your loss. Don Bob had a wonderful influence in me and gave me a great opportunity to be part of a great group of guys at Fordham. I am currently a college coach because of him. I hope Eileen, the `girls,' Bobby, Billy and John are doing ok in healing and send you my best wishes."
"It is really an honor to say I was part of the team that Bob coached during his final season at Fordham. I think I speak for everyone who has met Bob in saying that he was not just a great tennis coach but a great life coach. For every piece of advice he gave on the court, he gave ten pieces of advice regarding life lessons and guidance. He never failed to make us all laugh and it is tragic to say bye to a person who has been such a huge part of my Fordham career. We'll miss you Bob."
"My deepest sympathies to Eileen and the Hawthorn family. I was shocked to hear about Bob's death from Casey. I had managed to stay in touch since those glorious days of tennis and squash at Fordham, and had seen him as recently as last year at the tournament at Yale. He looked great! There are so many wonderful memories from those Fordham days (65/69), especially the trips to DC with Bobby, Billy and JJ, but what will always remain in my heart is Bob's love and dedication to his family, both immediate and extended (the Fordham family). Bob undoubtedly epitomized the Jesuit tradition of service, and his friendship will be cherished. Most of us came to him as tennis players, but he taught us to play squash, and perhaps more importantly, to become caring human beings by his example. I will miss Bob, and I thank God for sharing him with us. May we all be consoled by the memories of a good and Godly man." - Marcus Fernandez
"Dear Eileen and family:
"To Eileen and Family,
"Over the last seven weeks, I have been reflecting on why so many of us loved and admired Bob Hawthorn, thinking of words that would capture the essence of Bob. The two that stand out are "Classy" and "Generous".
A Classy person may be defined as someone having or reflecting high standards of personal behavior or someone admirably skillful and graceful. Synonyms include: elegant, courtly, fine, handsome, majestic, refined, stately and tasteful.
Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to help those in need. A generous person is someone who is liberal in giving or sharing, someone who is unselfish, magnanimous and one who is free from meanness or pettiness.
I think all of us who knew Bob would agree that he epitomized the virtues defined by these words.
I consider myself very blessed that Bob Hawthorn came into my life. I met Bob at Fordham Prep in January 1975 as an "off the boat" 15 year-old from Sri Lanka. We used to exchange greetings after daily mass at the Prep Chapel. Little did I know then, that Bob was to be my guardian angel for the next several years. I am not exaggerating when I say that without Bob, I will not be where I am today. If not for his generosity I would not have been able to attend Fordham College & if he had not personally reached out to Fr. Doyle, the then Dean of Fordham's Graduate School, I would not have received the Graduate Fellowship that enabled me to pursue my M.S. & Ph.D.
In the spring of 1976 when I graduated from the Prep, I had received a full tuition scholarship to attend Fordham College but did not have the money to cover my living expenses. My parents in Sri Lanka did not have the means to help me & as a foreign student I was not entitled to student loans and not allowed to legally work in the US. When Bob somehow found out about my predicament, he decided to give me a tennis & squash scholarship to cover room & board. When I told Bob that I had not played either sport & was uncomfortable accepting the scholarship, Bob would not have any of it. He simply said, "Don't worry kid , I will teach you squash & you can manage the tennis and squash teams". The rest is history. From 1976 till my graduation from Fordham College in 1980, I managed both the Tennis and Squash teams and played on the squash team. My senior year, I played at the number five position on a very strong squad that included two All Americans - Ed Sarasola and Bill Ramsay. During those four years Bob took me under his angelic wings, teaching me not only squash but so many different things and helped in many different ways.
For example, on weekends, Bob would drive down from New Rochelle to the Bronx to pick me up at the Martyrs Court Dorm at 6:00 in the morning to drive up to Rosary Hill in Hawthorne, NY where he was volunteering. He had cut a deal with the reverend nuns there to get me an off the books job so that I could have some pocket money. I fondly remember the hours that we would spend together changing diapers, washing and shaving elderly cancer patients and wheeling them to Mass.
Bob was at most of my Fordham graduations, including the last one in 1994 when I received my law degree from Fordham. I know Bob was very proud of my academic achievements. But I think he was most proud when I showed up at a Hopkins Tournament here in Rose Hill in the early 1990's with a French-Canadian medical doctor from Sloan-Kettering. She had been a nationally ranked junior tennis player and happened to be quite attractive. Bob, cornered me in the Club House, jabbed me in the ribs with his elbow sporting a mischievous smile that said "I think you've made it kid".
I loved Bob and admired him very much. He was the classiest and most generous man I've known. Eileen, Bob Jr., Billy, John, Missy, Lizzie, Annie & Mary: Thank you for sharing Bob with me and countless other lucky ones."
"I was saddened to hear of Bob's passing just the other day. He leaves behind a great legacy as a husband, father, teacher, coach and humanitarian.
As a transfer to Fordham University it was my pleasure to play squash and tennis for Bob for only two years. I'm sure at times Bob was very thankful that it was only two years!! I remember well the chore of "advance scouts" that Mssrs. McCann, Dejoie, Tarangioli and I assigned to ourselves when the team was on the road. We would endeavor to arrive early in Mr. McCann's car to scout the frozen depths of Williamstown or briny seas of Annapolis to make sure there was sufficient entertainment is the area to keep the rest of the team culturally stimulated upon their arrival, in addition to finding the closest Friendlies to our accommodations. We saw it as a sacred duty to make sure that all our teammates, and Bob himself, were safely tucked in bed before we would dream of retiring for the night.
Bob was so grateful for our efforts that he often allowed us to lead early morning calisthenics. As a current resident of the Boston area, I never fail to mention to family and friends, when we pass the Bunker Hill monument, how Bob allowed us the honor of leading the way up the hundreds of very tall steps of the monument's interior shortly after sunrise to reward our nocturnal vigilance. He showed similar appreciation for our efforts to find the perfect ski area in the Berkshires or set up flying lessons for our teammates at Annapolis. I must say his rewards for our efforts were well deserved!!!
Most importantly of all he taught us never to quit. Many of us were stepping on to the squash court for the first time against opponents who were born with squash racquets in their hands. The fact we managed to personally win our fair share of matches is a tribute Bob's ability to administer a crash course in Squash 101 at Dunwoodie and his willingness to instill in us a can do attitude. I will always remember Bob and our many "road trips" fondly."