Verna Despain Hawkins

January 26, 1935 – August 26, 2018

Verna Despain Hawkins, 83, was born Jan. 26, 1935, in Lovell. She was the first of 10 children born to Joseph Warren Despain and Trilma Johnson.

Verna died Aug. 26, 2018, at North Big Horn Hospital in Lovell from a stroke she suffered on August 14. She will be deeply missed by her loving family and many dear friends. 

Verna Despain Hawkins

Verna grew up in Lovell and went to all 12 years of her schooling there. She enjoyed being a part of the band program and has many fond memories of the band trips. She enjoyed the many family activities on the Big Horn Mountains, especially the family reunions held at Five Springs. She graduated from Lovell High School in 1953 and then went to Ricks College for two years and received her degree in cosmetology.

Verna married Lewis Leon Spencer on Nov. 21, 1955. This union was blessed with three children while they lived in Idaho Falls and Nampa, Idaho. Verna and Leon were later divorced on Aug. 4, 1971.

Verna and her children continued to live in Nampa for many years. She worked at Restline Industries and managed a team of ladies as they sowed the draperies for mobile homes. Verna met Arthur LaVar Hawkins and fell in love with this very special man. They were married May 19, 1982. They were later sealed for time and all eternity in the Idaho Falls Temple in 1986.

Verna and Art worked together through all their married years managing motels and lodges. They loved doing outdoor activities together with their families. Verna and Art moved to Quanah, Texas, to live with Julie and her family due to Art’s failing health. Verna has continued to live with her family until her death.

As the family moved back to Lovell in 2002 Verna renewed old friendships and made many more new friends. In 2005 the Stake Relief Society president approached Verna about a goal of making 2005 quilts, which they did accomplish. That started the quilting projects that later led to a quilting room at the North Big Horn Senior Citizens Center. Verna loved the many friends she had made while living in the various places throughout her life. She loved sharing her gardening expertise with family and teaching quilting classes through the Senior Center while making many more new friends. 

Verna was an active member in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where she held many callings and loved to serve with kindness. 

Verna is survived by her son Bradley Despain Spencer of Nampa; daughters LeAnn (Dan) Tiller of Nampa and Julie (Scott) Watson of Lovell; eight grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; one sister, Julia (Ron) Johnson; seven brothers, Ival (Berniece) Despain, Larry (Sheryl) Despain, Frank (Phyllis) Despain, Roy (Deanne) Despain, Dean Despain, Mike (Sue) Despain and Ron (Michelle) Despain; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Art, parents Joseph Warren Despain and Trilma Johnson Despain and one brother, Melvin Despain.  

There will be a viewing held Friday, Aug. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Haskell Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 10 a.m., with a viewing before the service at 9 a.m. at the church. The burial will take place at the Lovell Cemetery right after the service. 

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