Robert Hawkey, who helped found Valley Stream Green Hornets football in 1950 and was a head coach and mentor to generations of youth athletes, died on Dec. 19 of a heart attack.
He was 79.
"When you are in Valley Stream and you say Bob Hawkey, everybody thinks Green Hornets football," said his son Bobby Hawkey Jr., 43. "That was what he was all about."
Hawkey was born in Valley Stream in 1930 and graduated from Valley Stream Central High, where he played running back and kicker on the football team.
After high school, his son said, Hawkey became a stock exchange runner on Wall Street and at age 28 was named a partner at E.F. Hutton & Co., where he would end his career as a director and senior vice president.
Wanting to offer the community a youth football option, and being a passionate fan of the game, Hawkey and some friends created the Green Hornets, named after the fictional crime-fighter.
His son estimates that during Hawkey's nearly 60 years of coaching, the Hornets' varsity team won more than 500 games and 30 championships.
Those who passed through the program include a roster of area high school coaches, including Stephen Boyd, who played professional football for the Detroit Lions and now coaches at Chaminade High School in Mineola, and Tom Pugh, who coaches at Holy Cross High School in Flushing.
For many, Bobby Hawkey said, his father was the epitome of a football coach: tough but principled.
"He would always play to win," said Bobby, who played under and then coached with his father. "But if he was ahead, he would never run up the score. He wanted the other team to have a good day, too."
Sharon Daly said she has been a Green Hornet since the 1970s, when she was a cheerleader. Her brothers played for Hawkey and her daughter followed in her footsteps as a cheerleader.
Daly, 53, said every year as the football season approached, Hawkey would become invigorated.
"In August, he just lit up like a candle," Daly said. "Other than his family, he lived for football season."
Daly said this season some 300 young people, ages 5 to 14, were Green Hornet players or cheerleaders.
In addition to his son Bobby, Hawkey is survived by his wife, Audrey, of Valley Stream, and four daughters: Elizabeth Chamberlain, of Seaford, Jeanne Plumer, of Lido Beach, Christine Pizzoli, of Livingston, N.J., and Susan Teichmann, of Wellington, Fla.