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Wednesday, April 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fueled by a family gift, Ellen Hawley Memorial Scholarship established at Freeman High

Jim Hawley poses for a photograph with his granddaughters Ellis Crowley, 15, left and Drew Crowley, 13, right at their home on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. He donated a car to Freeman High School toward a scholarship in memory of his wife. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Jim Hawley poses for a photograph with his granddaughters Ellis Crowley, 15, left and Drew Crowley, 13, right at their home on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. He donated a car to Freeman High School toward a scholarship in memory of his wife. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Ellen Hawley is still giving to Freeman High School.

After the longtime volunteer and assistant to the superintendent died on June 13, her family established a memorial scholarship to help students at Freeman.

The driving force behind the gift? Ellen’s husband Jim and the 1966 Mustang convertible he’d given her for their 40th wedding anniversary in 2011.

“I took a present that I gave my wife and turned it into something good – scholarships,” said Jim, who put the car up for auction. “It’s like she is giving it.”

“The goal of the scholarship is to make a difference in someone’s life – a normal kid who needs to get over a hump, a good kid who needs a boost,” Jim said.

Ellen Hawley worked for the Freeman School District for 26 years until her retirement in 2011.

“She made you smile,” a Freeman High School teacher said of Ellen. “She always made you feel better.”

During the recent auction, bidding paused while the auctioneer announced that all proceeds would go directly to the school. The car sold within minutes for $14,500.

“It was very emotional for me,” Jim Hawley said.

The buyers, Jim and Diane Parker of Coeur d’Alene – owners of Parker Toyota of Coeur d’Alene – contributed even more, delivering a $15,660 check to the school.

The Ellen Hawley Memorial Scholarship at Innovia Foundation will carry on her legacy.

“The outpouring of support for this fund is a testament to how many lives Ellen positively impacted,” said Shelly O’Quinn, CEO of Innovia Foundation. “Donors nationwide, and as far away as Australia, have made gifts in Ellen’s memory.”

“Ellen cared about other people,” said Randy Russell, Superintendent of Freeman School District.

“She was warm, friendly and very service-driven, and she loved the Freeman community,” Russell said. “I went to her for insight and advice. You want to think you made a difference in someone’s life, and Ellen did that.

“What a great life,” Russell said.

Ellen loved Mariners baseball, gardening and working with the Assistants, a volunteer group of which she was the president.

In recent years, she and Jim traveled across the globe. “I wouldn’t be here if not for her,” Jim said. “I’ve never had a bad day because of her.”

Both natives of Spokane, Ellen and Jim met at Yakima Valley Community College and continued on to Eastern Washington University. They married in 1971 and raised their two children, Michele and Jeff, just outside Spokane, spending summers at their family cabin on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Contributions to support Freeman High School students and honor Ellen can be made online at innovia.org or by mail to 421 W. Riverside Ave., Ste. 606, Spokane, WA 99201.

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