I learned this morning that Monroe Hawley passed away overnight at the age of 93.  Monroe planted, preached for, and shepherded Southside Church of Christ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for over half a century.  He was Southside’s preacher when my family moved there from Dallas in 1969.  Monroe baptized me on January 3, 1977, and he presided at the funerals of both my mother (2002) and father (2009). 

Monroe Hawley was a great man, a towering figure in the Restoration Movement in the second half of the 20th century, especially in the state of Wisconsin.  I can say without hesitation he was the most important figure in the history of churches of Christ in the state of Wisconsin, period.  He was a graduate of Harding University, and earned a master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.  He was a learned man, author of several books, including an important history of the restoration movement, Redigging the Wells.  He was committed to the ideal of Christian unity, and believed wholeheartedly in the notion that we are “Christians only—but not the only Christians.”  He was a longtime member of the York College Board of Trustees, and was instrumental in the creation of Wisconsin Christian Youth Camp (WCYC).  He was married for over 70 years to Julia Hawley, whom he met at Harding.  Julia Hawley, a native of Mississippi, is the most gracious woman who has ever lived.  Monroe and Julia had a great impact on me, as they did on untold numbers of people over many, many years.   Monroe and Julia had 4 children, Wayne, Dale, Glynda, and Glenn; through them and their spouses and children, Monroe and Julia will continue to touch and bless the lives of many more people for years and years to come. 

Monroe’s younger brother, the late Roger Hawley, taught for Lubbock Christian College in the 1970s.

Here is an obituary from The Christian Chronicle, which references an interesting interview with him from 2007.  In the interview, when asked what lessons he has learned in his years in ministry, Monroe replies “Accept people where you find them, not where you want them to be.  In winning others to Christ, seek to reach the heart, not just the mind. Do not be so concerned about the personal problems of individuals that you lose your perspective enabling you to help others. Put God to the test and you will learn experientially that God does keep his promises.  The seed we sow will in time produce, but not always where and when we expect it to do so.”

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you on the occasion of the passing of this great man.

Russell Dabbs, Ph. D.
Professor of Economics
Chair, Academic Affairs
School of Business
Lubbock Christian University
5601 19th Street
Lubbock, TX 79407