Center Ridge’s Classie Hawkins honored at birthday celebration

Friends and family gathered Nov. 16-17 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Classie O. Hawkins.

Dozens recently gathered in Center Ridge for a two-day celebration of the 100th birthday of Classie Hawkins. 

The fall weather was perfect for the Saturday cookout at the honoree’s home, and Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church was the site of the praise and worship celebration on Sunday.

Born Nov. 17, 1919, the third of six children to Dock Lee and Myrtis Morris Clinkscale, Classie Clinkscale Hawkins is a lifelong resident of Center Ridge. As a girl, she attended church at Mount Zion United Methodist Church and school at Friendship and Union Special, two of three area schools formerly enslaved African Americans founded after migrating to northeast Conway County following emancipation.

In 1936, Classie married Tolly Bishop “T.B.” Hawkins. The couple became members of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church shortly after they wed, where she still attends today. They raised 11 children – six girls and five boys – and operated a dairy farm until his death in 2001. 

In her younger days, Classie had a gift of delivering speeches from memory at church services. She maintains her gift of the spoken word today, reciting poems and rhymes she learned over the years – and expecting her listeners to be able to join in or share their own. 

At Sweet Home Church on her 100th birthday, Classie recited two poems, one of which she learned in the third grade: “Great, Wide, Beautiful, Wonderful World” by English writer William Brighty Rands.

Quick-witted, a straight shooter and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, Classie Hawkins is a blessing to her family and a joy to all who know her.