Former Gatlinburg mayor, and community leader George Hawkins dead at 79

Former Gatlinburg mayor and community leader George Hawkins has passed away at the age of 79. Hawkins was known for his dedication to serving the Gatlinburg community for over 30 years. He was also a prominent historian in the area, having helped to preserve the town’s rich history and culture.

According to a Facebook post from John Scott, Hawkins passed away on July 2, 2023. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Hawkins was a beloved figure in the Gatlinburg community, having served as mayor from 1994 to 2006. During his time in office, he worked tirelessly to improve the town’s infrastructure and promote tourism. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Midnight Parade, a popular annual event that takes place during the town’s Winterfest celebration.

In addition to his work as mayor, Hawkins was also involved in numerous community organizations and events. He was the creator and director of the Bi-Centennial of the Constitution Patriotic Celebration for all three high schools in Sevier County. He helped start the Gatlinburg Tennis Open Tournament, and for the Spanish community, he started Gatlinburg’s annual Cinco D Mayo event.

Hawkins was also a controversial figure in the community. In 2014, he was sued for sexual discrimination by former Gatlinburg Event Manager Sandra Donohoo. The lawsuit exposed the seedy side of the Gatlinburg governmental workplace, but the settlement terms were confidential.

Despite the controversy, Hawkins remained a beloved figure in the community, and his passing has been met with an outpouring of grief and condolences. His dedication to serving the community and preserving its history will be sorely missed.

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