Nena Rey Hawkes passed away on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at the age of 88. She was born in Logan, Utah on December 4, 1931. Her parents were Herbert Jones Hawkes and LaVenia Frank Hawkes. Nena was the youngest of four children, Ella Lou, Herbert (Bud), Patricia, and Nena.
Nena graduated from Logan High School in 1950 and Utah State University in 1954 with a degree in Physical Education. She attended Brigham Young University where she earned her Master’s degree in 1965. In 1993 she received a Ph.D. from Union Institute Graduate School — Cincinnati, Ohio.
Before she joined the Women’s Physical Education Department at BYU in 1960, she taught at Provo and East High Schools and Riverton and Midvale Junior High Schools for five years.
In 1964 Nena, one of the pioneers forging the way in women’s athletics, started the BYU women’s track and field team. During her 15 years as coach, her outdoor team placed 11th in nationals and her indoor team placed 8th. She also carried a full teaching load, her favorite subject being the history of physical education. Nena was a faculty member at BYU for 40 years. She retired in 1999.
While director of student teaching, Nena helped redesign teacher preparation into a nationally recognized program, developing a rapport with many public-school teachers in the process. She also wrote a book titled “Celebrating Women Coaches: A Biographical Dictionary.” Nena received a Coaches of Merit award from the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation. The BYU Varsity Club awarded Nena the Foundation of Excellence award in 2007.
Nena enjoyed BYU sports, the Utah Jazz and horses. Through her work at BYU and her love for seeing new places, Nena traveled throughout the world. She had a gift for writing meaningful poetry, stories and information about her family history.
Nena was a precious daughter, beloved sibling, dedicated Aunt to 24 nieces and nephews, a devoted friend, coach and teacher. She was faithful and loving through the various joys and trials that life brought.
She treasured her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served faithfully her entire life. Nena enjoyed her Church Service Mission at the Provo MTC working with the Japanese speaking missionaries. Her love of the Savior, Jesus Christ was manifest by her life of service. One of her “eternal students” said it well: “We have been blessed by your gentle kindness, your great wisdom, your wonderful sense of humor, your rock-solid faith, your endless service, and your never-ending compassion.”
A family celebration of Nena’s life was held on January 11, 2020 in Logan Utah. The family is especially grateful to Nena’s Friends, Becky Enoch and Carol Wilkinson (our ministering angels) for their loving care.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.allenmortuaries.net