Don graduated from Cache High School in 1960, where he was a member of the Bulldog baseball and basketball teams. He attended Eastern Oklahoma A&M in Wilburton on an athletic scholarship and played baseball and basketball. He then went on to Oklahoma State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management in 1965.
He began his federal service career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Oklahoma and worked in Utah and New Mexico. Later he transferred to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and worked in Texas, Colorado and Washington, D.C. before returning to Oklahoma. He and his wife Carolyn returned to Cache and retired in 1999, with 33 years of service.
During his career, Don held numerous positions of responsibility. He was State Director of Utah, Texas and Oklahoma. The most complex program was Texas where he managed multiple levels of funding which came from federal, state, county and private rancher associations. These monies totaled about $5 million. He was accountable to all four levels to (1) be a good steward of funds they had entrusted to him and (2), to implement and manage programs that met the needs of the people. To put it simply, he was always striving to get the “best bang for the buck.”
Hawthorne also held positions such as Director of the Western Region in Denver and Assistant Director of Wildlife Services program in Washington, D.C..
In each of these jobs, he worked with members of Congress and their staffs, the heads of the state departments of agriculture, state fish and game departments, state health departments and county officials, as well as federal agencies to have effective and productive programs. He also testified at hearings and worked with state legislatures on programs and budgets.
During his career, Hawthorne received numerous awards for his leadership and management abilities and effective use of personnel.
After retirement from federal service, he served as Legislative Liaison for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture during the 1999 Session of the Oklahoma Legislature. He currently runs a small cow calf operation with his brother Arnold Hawthorne.
Don is a Trustee and past Chairman of the Cache Economic Development Authority where he obtained a grant from the McMahon Foundation for the Cache Community Center and oversaw the development of the golf course at Cache. He is a member of the National Cattlemen’s and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Associations, the National Rifle Association of America and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
Don has been married 48 years to Carolyn Holden Hawthorne. She is the daughter of Lela and the late, Lee J. Holden of Cache. Don and Carolyn have 3 grown daughters, Dana, Sheri and Susanne and five grandchildren.
He and his wife are active members of the First United Methodist Church of Cache serving on various committees and Don is adult Sunday School teacher.