USA Dot Com is a blog covering politics and government from a conservative Christian perspective. Verne Strickland is a 50-year veteran of investigative journalism. This blog offers a take-no-prisoners style with a modicum of biting satire. Verne and his wife of 55 years, Durrene, live in Wilmington, NC.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Andy Yates: My Friend Jack Hawke -- A True Gentleman and Scholar. You'll Be Missed.
has been a very tough week of reflection for me. At 9:03pm on Monday
night I got a call informing me that Jack Hawke had passed away. I have
shared lots of tears but also laughed and smiled a ton as I reflect on
my friend Jack Hawke. Jack is a legend of a man, but most importantly
to me he is a friend, a mentor, a role model and a father-figure.
Hawke is the father of the modern Republican Party in North Carolina,
and the positive impact he continues to have on our state cannot be
overstated. Some of the highlights include Campaign Manager for
Congressman Jim Gardner’s upset victory in 1966, Campaign Manager for
Gov. Jim Martin’s election in 1984, longest serving chairman in the
history of the NCGOP, chief strategist for Jim Gardner’s winning
Lieutenant Governor’s campaign in 1988, the architect of the Republican
takeover of the NC House in 1994 for the first time in the 20th
Century, campaign consultant for Congresswoman Virginia Foxx in 2004
when she won as tough and as expensive of a Congressional primary as has
ever occurred in North Carolina, and the campaign consultant for
Governor Pat McCrory’s big win in 2012 (the first time a Republican
nominee for Governor has ever out polled the Republican nominee for
President). Without him we would not have a Republican Governor and
Lieutenant Governor, a Republican Senate and House, and a Republican
majority on the NC Supreme Court for the first time in 1872.
the measure of the man and his greatest impact is on the lives that he
touched. Jack Hawke has been a friend, a mentor, a big brother, a
father-figure to so many in our state, inside and outside of politics.
His legacy will live on for decades to come.
son of a Methodist minister from Pennsylvania and a past president of
the New Jersey College Republicans, The Pennsylvania Yankee was the
Southern Gentleman of North Carolina politics. He was always honest and
forthright. Everything he did was ethical and above board. I never
heard him say a curse word and the worst thing I ever heard him say
about anyone was that they were acting like a jerk. He was always
positive, always upbeat, and always had something up his sleeve. His
sense of humor was timeless and his laugh contagious. Talking to Jack
just made you feel better, no matter what was going on, it just made you
mattered to Jack. He had time for everyone. There were no unimportant
people to him. When it came to campaigning two of the first things Jack
taught me is to take time to speak to everyone and let them know they
are appreciated and to lead by example…never ask someone to do something
that you won’t do yourself.
met Jack Hawke for the first time at the NCGOP Convention in Hickory in
1999. I was a freshman in College volunteering on Bill Cobey’s campaign
for State Party Chairman. We were meeting to discuss what needed to
happen that weekend when Jack Hawke walked into the room. I was
immediately blown away by both his wisdom and the respect showed to him
by everyone in that room. Our paths would cross a few more times over
the next 11 years and as a student of North Carolina politics I
certainly knew and appreciated the legend that is Jack Hawke, but I
didn’t really get to know Jack until June of 2010.
When Jack Hawke hired me in June of 2010 to manage Ilario Pantano’s campaign for the 7th
Congressional District, someone told me that managing a campaign with
Jack Hawke as the consultant is like getting a Master’s Degree in
Politics. I quickly learned they were wrong. It was more than that. It
was at least a PhD not only in Politics but also in life and in how to
be a better person.
was definitely true that I learned more in 5 months of working for Jack
Hawke then I learned in 8 previous years of working in politics (not
just because Jack was so smart but because he took the time to mentor
& teach), but I learned so much more about life and living.
wouldn’t just tell you to do something, he would take the time to
explain the why behind it (unless of course it was something he found
irrelevant in which case he would laugh and say “handle it, handle it,
handle it”). He didn’t just dispense orders. He sought out your advice
and input Jack respected everyone’s opinions and always listened. He
demanded your best and you gave your best because you never wanted to
disappoint him. He openly shared his experiences and lessons from 40 –
plus years of campaigns with me….the good, the bad, and the funny. He
taught me to always give it my best, to always work hard, to always be
respectful, to always do what is right, and to never back down.
the campaign ended, Jack didn’t abandon me. He kept me under his wing
and was always there for me, just a phone call away. He mentored me to
the point that I’ll be talking to a client, I’ll give them advice, I’ll
stop and wonder where that came from, then it will hit me that it came
from Jack Hawke. Up until the very last time I talked to him, Jack was
upbeat and positive. He wanted to know what was happening with my life
and my business, he was dispensing advice, and offering his help and
assistance. It didn’t matter how much he was suffering, he was
FAAANTASTIC and he was there for his friends.
Without Jack Hawke I don’t know where I would be today but I I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
many know, Jack’s trademark was to say “FAAAAAN-TASTIC, Thank You”
whenever someone asked him how he was doing. To which I would always
reply “That’s what I wanted to hear,” and it really was because no
matter what was going on it always made me feel better to hear him say
something strange, weird, or unusual would happen on the campaign
trail, I would tell Jack “I better write that down. That’s going in the
book” to which Jack would always respond “When you write your book just
remember to be kind to an old man.” Well Jack, I could never be as kind
to you as you have always been to me. Thank you Jack for being as good
of a man as I’ve ever known.
I would give to be able to pick up the phone one more time, call Jack
Hawke, ask him how he is doing, and hear him respond “FAAAAN-TASTIC,
Thank you!” Or better yet to meet him for lunch at the Player’s Retreat
said this to Jack and my close political friends have heard me say this
before, but I still want to be Jack Hawke when I grow up!