Joan Hawes

September 24, 2019

Frances Joan Ray Hawes, 88, died peacefully at her home in New Salem, Lookout Mountain, Ga., on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, after a battle with Alzheimer’s and diabetic complications.


Joan was born on April 17, 1931, daughter of the late Baxter and Katie Butler Ray. She was one of four to graduate from Cedar Grove High and was a 1948 graduate of former McKenzie College in Chattanooga with a degree in business. She retired as secretary for the Dade County School System after many years of service. She worked as secretary and editor for the world-renowned potter Charles Counts and was instrumental in publishing the book Common Clay.


She worked to establish a band boosters club that raised money for band uniforms and expensive equipment. Joan believed in community. She was a founder of the New Salem Improvement Club that purchased and established the New Salem Community Center, petitioned the state of Georgia for a grant to provide water service to the community, built the ball field and provided lighting, and raised money for the New Salem Volunteer Fire Department, which provides rescue and fire services.


She enjoyed her work supporting the administrative staff and providing special education testing to the children of Dade County schools. She touched many lives with her giving spirit and welcoming smile. Joan never met a stranger. Her home was always open to family, friends, and students who came to the mountain from all over the world to study at the Pottery Shop.


She is survived by her husband of 70 years, Ernest Hawes; son, Anthony Hawes, and his wife, Dale (LeCompte) Hawes; daughters, Diane Hawes and Alecia Hawes Najarro and her husband Ruben Najarro; granddaughter, Chelsea Najarro Masterson and her husband, Stephen Masterson; great-granddaughter, Emma Paige Masterson; brother, William (Bill) Ray; and a host of extended family and friends.


Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. on Friday, September 27, at Moore Funeral Home, Trenton chapel, with Reverend Chris Ray officiating. Interment will follow in the family lot of Hawes/Getter at Lake Hills Memorial Gardens, Trenton.


The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday September 26, from 4-8 p.m.and on Friday from 11 a.m. until service time.


You may share your thoughts and condolences online at


Funeral arrangements made by Moore Funeral Home, Trenton, GA 

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