Mrs. Mary Fay Hawes, wife of Major Charles W. Hawes, and a member of the board of supreme managers of the Royal Neighbors of America, is an admirable type of the purposeful woman of the day. She proves in her own person that the American woman may exert a powerful influence in the enlargement of woman’s sphere without loss to any of the attributes of true womanhood.
Mrs. Hawes was born in Fulton, Illinois, July 22, 1866, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Fay, and the eldest of a family of nine children, all living at this date. She graduated from high school in May, 1883, and spent the following two years in the Northern Illinois College at Fulton.
In 1887 Mrs. Hawes, then Miss Fay, engaged in a clerical capacity with the Modern Woodmen of America, the head offices of which were at that time located at Fulton. She continued with the Society for several years, a valued attache of the head office, and thus met Major Hawes, who was elected head clerk of the Society in 1890. Her marriage to Major Hawes on December 25, 1894, marked her retirement from the Woodmen Society’s employ; but shortly thereafter, having been actively identified with the Royal Neighbors of America, the ladies auxiliary of the Modern Woodmen of America, she was chosen as one of its board of supreme managers. She has been re-elected at each succeeding national convention since January, 1895, and her present term expires in May, 1908.
Mrs. Hawes, in American fraternal circles, is widely known; indeed, is one of that circle of able women who have pioneered the woman’s fraternal movement, to its present commanding place. She is a pleasing speaker, a thorough student of the system she serves officially, and of its life insurance features, and is in great demand as a lecturer.
Mrs. Hawes is an earnest member of the Broadway Presbyterian Church of Rock Island, and very active in its Sunday School work. Her ideal home life with husband and son, John Marcus Hawes, her work in the church and as an official of the Royal Neighbors of America, the leading fraternal beneficiary association for women, demonstrates her character and capacity, and as well the fact that, while womanly and true to the mission of the sex, the American woman may, with honor, engage in activities outside the home circle, but making for the protection of the home.