Robert L. Hawkins Jr., the retired 2nd generation president and ceo of Waterlox Coatings Corporation and son of its founder, passed away at the age of 89 at home of natural causes June 11. Funeral services were held June 16 at at the McGorray-Hanna Funeral Home of Lakewood, with interment at Lakeview Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions to The Hospice of the Western Reserve, 300 East 185th St., Cleveland, Ohio, 44119.
RL Hawkins Jr. was the 2nd generation of family to own and manage Waterlox , which was started in 1910 by his father, R.L. Hawkins, Sr. In recent years, Waterlox has been run by CEO Jay Hawkins – the son of RL Hawkins, Jr. – and Vice President, Kellie Hawkins Schaffner, his grand-daughter.
“My father was not only a kind and generous man but he was a pioneer in this industry”, said Jay Hawkins. RL Hawkins, Jr. began working at the company when he was age 15 in the 1930s. He became a member of the board of directors in 1948, acted as the executive vice president heading the research department in the 1960s, and took over the company as president/ceo until his retirement in 1992. Since his retirement he continued as a technical consultant to Waterlox.
“My father continued his father’s legacy of developing coatings for the automotive industry”, said Hawkins. “He will be sorely missed by his colleagues, friends and especially our family.”
Waterlox’s founder, RL Hawkins, Sr., developed the black paint for the floor boards of Ford’s Model T, and RL Hawkins, Jr. developed and held patents for a revolutionary coating and process used in the production of rubber mats used in automobiles and later in over-the-road trucks. This process allowed the color coat and mat to be cured together in a mold. Special care was taken by RL, Jr. in color matching the rubber to the latest automobile color trends.
RL Hawkins, Jr. was a long-time resident of Bratenahl, OH and a long-standing member of Mayfield Country Club participating in curling and golf, the Hermit Club participating in the men’s choir and acting as club photographer, Mentor Harbor Yacht Club participating in sailboat racing (Dragon and 40” Alden boats) and was a World War II Army Air Force Veteran where he served his country in aerial reconnaissance. He was a member of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and many Cleveland-based business consulting organizations including the Business Advisors of Cleveland. He held a masters of science degree from the Case School of Applied Science in both chemical engineering and industrial chemistry and was a member of Beta Theta Pi.
RL Hawkins, Jr. was the beloved husband of Gloria (nee Merreck); loving father of Robert L. Hawkins III (Joan), Ann Stevens Rody (Harold), John W. “Jay” Hawkins (Dee) and step father of William (Mary) and James (Marie) Boswell, Brian (Gina), Paul Conor (Sharon) and Christopher W. (Cyd) Donohue; dear grandfather of 12 and great grandfather of 11; brother of the late Mary Kathryn Robertson and Betty Ann Stafford.