ForeverMissed
**Please feel free to leave comments under "Leave a Tribute" below or click on the "Stories" menu item above and leave your comments, audio, and/or videos.  Tracy's interesting and beautiful life spanned across years, coasts and countries.  Let's capture memories of what she meant to us, the light she gave to those around her and what made her unique.  Please be sensitive to what Tracy would have wanted when sharing stories and pictures.***
Tracy Jane Hawkins passed away peacefully at home in Somerville on Monday, March 29th at age 55 with her partner by her side and beloved fur babies nearby. Tracy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost 10 years ago, which became recurrent about 8.5 years ago with continuous lines of treatment thereafter until recent progression and complications sent her into hospice care ~three weeks ago. The strength and determination she demonstrated every day of this very private battle were awe inspiring, allowing her to far exceed typical survival expectations, all under the care of the team of doctors and other care givers at Dana Farber. And she did it all with incredible courage, grace and kindness, core to her being and beloved by all who had the privilege of knowing her. She did not want to be defined by her illness and sought any sense of normalcy whenever possible, taking joy in the smallest of things….sun on her face, the smell of the sea, a good cup of coffee, snuggling the fur babies.

Born in High Wycombe, United Kingdom as an only child to Frank and Margaret Hawkins, both of whom passed away far too young (Tracy was only 15 and 35 respectively), Tracy lived in the London area until life brought her to the US about 20 years ago, initially in San Francisco and the last 10 in the Boston area. In 2013, Tracy became a US Citizen in Boston's Faneuil Hall, an auspicious occasion on hallowed ground. In 2012, she met the love of her life, Kristine Schroeder, in one of those fabled love at first sight stories and together they raised and loved a menagerie of cats and dogs, following a real estate and design bug through several moves around Boston proper and ultimately to Somerville's Davis Square area. Tracy lead an accomplished career in financial law and was recognized to be subject matter expert on a number of relevant topics in asset management regulatory and compliance, even leading her to testify in front of Congress during the financial crisis.

Tracy had one of the most interesting lives, beginning with her unique upbringing in the UK. Her parents gave her the option to choose between schools at age 7, and Tracy chose the Montessori-like school with the zoo and hippy headmaster to help shape her into the beautiful human being she became. Her independence was innate from childhood. She was known to take off in her "wellies" on an adventure with a childhood friend studying the wonders of the world. She kept a stamp collection, was a member of the young ornithologist's club, played chess, dabbled with photography (old school), also had a metal detector to find buried treasure, and was also proud card carrying member of the "Tufty Club" frequently calling herself a Safety Squirrel to patrol potential hazards to us and our pets later in life. Tracy had some of the funniest stories one could ever hear, and when delivered with her beautiful British accent and unique style, could have you rolling on the floor. Tracy enjoyed dancing and the London club scene and a love of travel took her to many exotic destinations around the world, but what brought joy to her heart in later years was being surrounded by love and fur babies, being near the restorative power of the ocean and a new real estate or home interior project. As a bit of a gypsy, many of those projects landed us in boxes.

Despite Tracy's professional success, her only true currency was kindness, compassion, laughter and light. She could be having the worst day, feel awful, and still smile and carry on a very engaged and caring conversation with those around her. Part of that was the British heritage, but mostly it was the down to earth, kind, compassionate, beautiful spirit. She loved music and saw many of "the greats", was a steadfast champion for justice, particularly for all animals, large and small. She would not let her partner kill spiders, despite her crippling fear and would escort them safely out. She was also quite determined and competitive, with athletics playing a substantial role over her life, early on as an accomplished tennis player, would swim a mile a day through college and run 10 miles a day for years in her ~30's. Once she set her mind to something, she'd set her jaw and not surrender. She did a hard core workout class with her partner a number of years ago where the finale was performing a plank until failure. Despite being a fitness junky a good part of her life , she wasn't in particularly good shape at this point, in a class full of people who were, but she set her jaw and after 7.5 minutes locked in a plank, she was the last person "standing". She was sore for about a week after, but wholly satisfied by the accomplishment.

Tracy's kind eyes and infectious smile were windows to her soul. A spiritual person, her rare combination of inner strength, determination, kindness, compassion, and warmth were the cornerstones of the imprint she made wherever she went. Those who knew her well got to see her delightful quirkiness, incredible intellect and freakishly good sense of rhythm.

In true Tracy fashion, she did not want a memorial service, but was open to some kind of party. We will circle back on this in the future to celebrate her life, given sufficient time and space….and pandemic-related dynamics. There are so many stories and memories to share. Tracy has touched many people on various continents, so this online memorial has been created for her, allowing loved ones to share memories and kind pictures about what Tracy meant to them and how different she was…..funny moments and things that made Tracy, Tracy.

Tracy will be missed by all who knew her, because to know her was to love her. A brilliant light transitioned from Earth to the Universe that day, but I am told her spirit is at peace and continues on. True love always, my British warrior. Our bond is forever. Rest in peace.

In lieu of flowers, please consider memorializing your support to one of Tracy's favorite causes:
  • Dana Farber - An incredible organization of people doing God's work every day. I have set up a memorial page to accept donations for her here.
  • ASPCA - A wonderful organization with a perpetually worthy need, click here
  • St. Jude's Children's hospital - There is no rhyme or reason to who gets cancer, but especially egregious is the tragedy of childhood cancer. Such a worthy cause, click here.
Posted by Jeffrey Nodine on April 13, 2021
It’s wonderful when the mention of an individual’s name brings a smile to the face and kindles a warmth of the heart. Above all else, to have made a positive impact in the lives of others is the greatest legacy we can leave. Tracy’s kindness and generosity left a mark on everyone. She did indeed make this world a better place by making each of us a bit better. We can carry that forward, and in doing so, honor her legacy.
Posted by Deb Dyson on April 12, 2021
Tracy, you were the dearest friend, love, and partner of my very dear friend, Kristine. I know you brought her great happiness simply by being the beautiful soul that you are.  But you also shared many joyful adventures with her and a love of fur babies. 
I am grateful that Kristine brought you into our circle of UVM friends, although it was for far too short a time. I wish we had had more opportunities to get together so that I could have known you even better. Having now lost two members of the circle makes my heart very sad and makes me determined to stay better connected to all of my core friends. Life is too short not to take the time to show appreciation to those we care about. 
Thank you for touching my life and most importantly for being someone who brought so much love to one of those core friends.
You are missed.
Posted by Andrea Nowak on April 7, 2021
Even though your earthly light has dimmed, you will forever shine bright in the stars, my dearest Tracy. You were so important in my life and I am so grateful that I had a chance to travel the world with you when we did. I will forever cherish all of the memories we made together! You were so special to me and showed me the meaning of great love, kindness, compassion, laughter, generosity, adventure, goofiness, British humor, and being the toughest fighter that I have ever known. You had a strength and wisdom very few have within them. You have made a lasting impact on my life and so many friends and family members too. You only just passed and I already miss you so much. I guess it was decided that heaven needed another Angel so look over us all and remember that I will love you, forever and ever. R.I.P. Tracy Jane Hawkins.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Jeffrey Nodine on April 13, 2021
It’s wonderful when the mention of an individual’s name brings a smile to the face and kindles a warmth of the heart. Above all else, to have made a positive impact in the lives of others is the greatest legacy we can leave. Tracy’s kindness and generosity left a mark on everyone. She did indeed make this world a better place by making each of us a bit better. We can carry that forward, and in doing so, honor her legacy.
Posted by Deb Dyson on April 12, 2021
Tracy, you were the dearest friend, love, and partner of my very dear friend, Kristine. I know you brought her great happiness simply by being the beautiful soul that you are.  But you also shared many joyful adventures with her and a love of fur babies. 
I am grateful that Kristine brought you into our circle of UVM friends, although it was for far too short a time. I wish we had had more opportunities to get together so that I could have known you even better. Having now lost two members of the circle makes my heart very sad and makes me determined to stay better connected to all of my core friends. Life is too short not to take the time to show appreciation to those we care about. 
Thank you for touching my life and most importantly for being someone who brought so much love to one of those core friends.
You are missed.
Posted by Andrea Nowak on April 7, 2021
Even though your earthly light has dimmed, you will forever shine bright in the stars, my dearest Tracy. You were so important in my life and I am so grateful that I had a chance to travel the world with you when we did. I will forever cherish all of the memories we made together! You were so special to me and showed me the meaning of great love, kindness, compassion, laughter, generosity, adventure, goofiness, British humor, and being the toughest fighter that I have ever known. You had a strength and wisdom very few have within them. You have made a lasting impact on my life and so many friends and family members too. You only just passed and I already miss you so much. I guess it was decided that heaven needed another Angel so look over us all and remember that I will love you, forever and ever. R.I.P. Tracy Jane Hawkins.
her Life

Boston (2010, on)

Work in progress.....may end up being like Gaudi's cathedral in Barcelona. This is written in first person perspective by her partner, Kristine Schroeder….all of the third person perspective got weird.  And the focus by and large, is on the good times, on the positive memories, not dwelling on the sad and challenging times.  They were for sure mixed in, especially the last couple of years, but the intent is for this to be a celebration of who Tracy was and what it meant to those around her.

Career opportunities brought Tracy and babies from sunny San Francisco in 2010, settling in a lovely seaside location in Hingham with a cool commute to Boston via ferry.Tracy was brought in as Deputy General Counsel for State Street's Global Advisor group, leading a team of 40 people in navigating the complex waters of regulatory and compliance issues of their asset management business.She would ultimately leave State Street in 2010 and do consulting work for Axiom until landing at a division of Mass Mutual doing asset management, which would ultimately become Barings, working with a team in MA and NC that she really enjoyed.

Boston is not the easiest place in the world to forge new friendships, but Tracy was fearless in her desire to plant roots and involved herself where possible in local social organizations. Weaving this in with her love of travel, she began exploring New England with newfound friends and also went on a fun organized vacation to Punta Cana, though it wasn't until she was on the plane that she realized it was in Puerto Rico….she thought she was going to Mexico! She had many fond memories and friendships from that trip.

2011 was dominated by the rapid onset and July diagnosis of ovarian cancer, as stage 3c.She pushed through initial surgery and front line treatment in the care of Dana Farber and ended up moving full time into Boston proper into an up and coming district called Fort Point, which at the time was a bit of the wild west. She had thankfully developed Boston area friendships that helped her get through this very challenging time until she was deemed cancer free in ~December that year. After regaining some strength and the tiniest bit of hair, Tracy began to look outward again in March to meet more people and perhaps someone special. She spied a couple of area events one weekend in late March, 2012 and chose the one in Lynn, MA because it "sounded like a nice place". I am thankful she chose that one, because it's where we would meet as she "gate crashed" the anniversary gathering for an area meetup group, of which I was a member. I planned to attend in support of this wonderful group and to hang out with some friends, fresh off of a just completed home project that afternoon, still sporting paint specks on my hands. Relegating the rest of this fateful evening to a separate story…..in the "Stories" section.

Let's talk about the menagerie for a second as our relationship evolved quickly (as they usually do) and involved a Brady Bunch-sized integration. I came in with a sensible number of pets, my then limit, two rescued black cats from Lowell Humane Society, Moe and Mickey. Tracy came in with 4 cats (known as the Burmese Bunch) and 2 Maltese dogs….each with a very plausible story of how one lead to the other…..and that was "perfectly normal". There was a bit of Hatfields vs McCoys early on, but as the Burmese cats seem perpetually on Quaaludes, it went far easier than expected and the toughest challenge was having enough lap space to facilitate the loving connection they would all want. I would say 90% of our pictures taken over the years were capturing the nonstop Kodak moments of quirky behaviors to "cuddle puddles". And Tracy was a fiercely protective momma bear of all her brood, though I always suspected her smallest cub, 4 lb. Jesse James, who was perpetually attached to mommy, sure she had given birth to him….had a particularly special place in her heart. With soulful eyes and the heart of a lion, Jesse James and his very bonded pseudo sister Rosie would take on a creature of any size to protect their mommies.(insert James video)And in turn, Tracy would serve as helicopter mommy, keeping watch for any potential threats from hawks and coyotes to cavernous bedside cliffs, but unaware that what very nearly claimed Jesse James would be a rogue wave from an angry ocean one Thanksgiving day on the Cape. While playing with them on the beach, he got swept up into a wave before Tracy went in after him, fully clothed on a chilly day.

Few things brought out the inner child in Tracy as much as the rev of a powerful car engine or the prospect of owning a boat. Strange, but true. Throughout her life, Tracy was known to change cars frequently and at last count, I think she had over 20 cars over the course of her adult life, spanning a unique spectrum that could only be hers. While she loved fast cars, she would drive like Miss Daisy, saying she just wanted to have the horses if she needed to get out of trouble. I was more inclined to properly exercise all of the engine's horses leaving Tracy to gasp and hit the air brakes. And each winter, we would walk the Boston boat show imagining the lifestyle of being on the water, but sailing lessons in Boston one summer taught us that might not be the best idea. See a separate story about our first solo journey.

Until buying a second home in Provincetown in 2017 with the intent to retire there someday, Tracy and I took some memorable vacations. In addition to touring around New England destinations in Maine, Vermont and Block Island, we traveled to Cinque Terre in Italy, St. John USVI, Montreal, Key West, Belize (rain forest and beach), along with bucket list trips to Croatia for Tracy's 50th and Tahiti for a multi-island cruise with additional 4 night stay in an over the water hut in Bora Bora. Tracy would almost never swim in New England….too cold and fearful of sharks, but for some reason, swimming with sharks in Bora Bora was just fine. On our last day there, we did an incredible half day snorkeling trip, getting up close and personal with stingrays, an octopus, and lots of black-tipped reef sharks. The last stop of the day was in deep water with 12 foot lemon sharks. I am fairly fearless normally, but kept parked on the boat while Tracy was the first to pop up amongst the group to get in the water with the sharks. No hesitation. We did have two bucket list vacations planned for 2020, but had to cancel because of COVID.

Continuing on with traditions of musical influence and live performances, Tracy introduced me to the talents of Daft Punk, Il Divo and Groove Armada. We also saw lots of amazing shows including a nearly annual Diana Ross show, including one where Tracy got to shake her hand. Giddy like a school girl after that honor, I don't think she washed her hands for days. The year of the concert for us was 2015, when we got to see many of the greats that came through Boston…..Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, U2 and Adele. Other shows we enjoyed over the years included several Indigo Girls ones with friends and fellow IG nuts, Greg & Kacey and Cathy & Sue; along with Seal, Mavis Staples, Culture Club and others.

We became homebodies more and more over time, each of us putting lots of energy and socializing in at the office, recovery from ongoing treatment requiring more time to recharge with each other and the babies. Though more insular, we took joy in our little routines and quirky household, making us smile and laugh every day. Tracy had her own unique attributes we affectionately celebrated, including her oddly long toes that I was convinced could support her hanging from a tree branch, creating larger than your average bear (for her frame) feet, which could withstand a Cat 5 hurricane standing up. I would call her my monkey and she frequently sported monkey pajamas, waking to each new day ensconced in the babies with a beautiful broad smile, as if she had a special secret kept all to herself. Being one to need two full cups of coffee in me to engage in any semblance of polite conversation, I was always amazed at this…..and enjoyed it every single day. She taught me wonderful British expressions throughout our time together, my favorite being "Bob's your uncle". Each time she'd throw one into conversation, I would have to stop in our tracks until she explained said curiosity.



San Francisco (~2000 to 2010)

I will let others shape this treasured and largely carefree time in Tracy's life before State Street Global Advisors came a calling with an opportunity to be Deputy GC in Boston.

The early years (1965 to ~2000) - in the UK....tea anyone?

Tracy was born in High Wycombe, United Kingdom on September 21st to Frank and Margaret Hawkins.  An only child with extended family a part of her life, her parents gave her the option to choose between schools at age 7, one being a traditional, more structured school and the other, a Montessori-like school complete with a zoo and hippy headmaster still sporting greasy hands from fixing the school bus.  Needless to say, Tracy chose the non-traditional one with the zoo and would talk often about the interesting experiences and animals there....complete with chickens, rabbits, peacocks, and even a caiman (small alligator), amongst others.

Her independence was innate from childhood. She was known to take off in her "wellies" on an adventure with a childhood friend studying the wonders of the world at a very early age. Relishing her uniqueness, she kept a stamp collection, was a member of the young ornithologist's club, played chess, dabbled with photography (old school), also had a metal detector to find buried treasure, and was also proud card carrying member of the "Tufty Club" frequently calling herself a Safety Squirrel to patrol potential hazards to us and our pets later in life.  As a teenager, Tracy was an accomplished tennis player and attended Beaconsfield High School.

Tracy was very close to her parents and was able to convince them to let her have rabbits (her dad built a hutch in their yard), another dog (golden lab named Buster) and even a horse.  They took advantage of European proximity and took wonderful annual vacations in Cypress and Portugal, amongst other places....general rule of thumb was the hotter, the better.  

Tracy got her law degree from the University of Birmingham and went into a London law firm after graduating, initially shaping contractual arrangement from commercial airliner purchases and later getting into more of a financial specialty.  She was recognized to be subject matter expert on a number of relevant topics in asset management regulatory and compliance, even leading her to testify in front of Congress during the financial crisis, while Associate GC at Barclay's Global Investors.

While on the young law professional treadmill, Tracy enjoyed the London night scene with treasured friends like Kiki Koh.....many, many stories here, I will let others chime in.  And I am really hoping that someone with backstory on the time Tracy performed a Madonna song (dance and singing) with a group of JP Morgan colleagues in front of a few thousand people at a conference.....and perhaps video???

Tracy's father passed away tragically of a sudden heart attack while she was at school at age 15, leaving an enduring mark on her soul.  Her mom passed away when Tracy was just 35 after a challenging illness.  
Recent stories

Kindred spirits

Shared by Michele Jones on April 8, 2021
When my husband and I moved to Boston, we probably saw over 100 properties, one of which was Kristine and Tracy’s Fort Point condo (which we found out later on). We ended up settling on the Allele and Kristine and Tracy were our new neighbors. We were just meant to meet. Being pet parents to 2 dogs of our own, there is an instant connection to others of the same situation. But what connected our souls was the night where Tracy helped save the life of my beloved French Bulldog, Gus. Not only did she hold and cuddle / comfort  him during the frantic drive to the ER and was so strong for us, but she was also my voice when I was so overcome and couldn’t speak to my husband who was out of town for work. I am sure Tracy was terrified of my driving that night, speeding through rush hour traffic and through my tears. Tracy was Gus’s angel - so selfless, giving, and supportive.  I don’t know exactly what she had planned for that evening, but all I can tell you is that she was in her pajamas and immediately dropped everything because we needed her. Now that is a true friend. Tracy and I shared a love of pets and often when we would all go out to brunch or walk Castle Island, Kristine and Chris would be a quarter of a mile ahead of us as we chatted along. We were kindred spirits. I don’t know if any of these words I have written can truly capture what she meant to me, but Trac, you are so missed!

Our first (and nearly last) solo sailing journey....a cautionary tale

Shared by Kristine Schroeder on April 8, 2021
On our first solo trip out on Memorial Day that year after "successfully completing" our lessons, we set out from Rowe's wharf to anchor near one of Boston harbor's islands, a route we had done before with our instructor.  We probably should have paid more attention to the details of the forecast, including tide and increasing winds.  This harbor is a challenging place to sail as it's quite busy and because of bordering warehouses and airport, has some interesting wind patterns.  When we turned a corner going out of the harbor toward the islands, we realized just how windy it was and despite the 27 foot sturdy club boat, felt fairly vulnerable with a substantial list.  As we approached the target island for planned anchoring, we came about while Tracy wasn't quite ready, allowing the lines (ropes) to fly through her bare hands, causing immediate and excruciating rope burn.  She dropped to the floor screaming in pain as the jib lines were completely out flying around like Medusa's angry locks.  It was all I could do as we went in circles around a channel marker with boats coming at us, to steer with my foot and get the lines back in.  Needless to say, we abandoned the perhaps overoptimistic plans to anchor and picnic, and realized we were probably in over our heads.  As we continued to press on around the islands to then head back, there were some really challenging gusts on top of a very consistent gale, all while basically being a man down as Tracy tried to function with raw, painful hands.  Once we got past the islands and pointed back toward the city, but still at a good distance, we realized the pure headwind met with now choppy seas were going to make for a very long return, even after we finally relented by turning on the fairly pathetic motor and pulling in the sails.  There were several points where we were really close to calling the Coast Guard for a rescue and very nearly got hit by a high speed ferry.  I think we kissed the ground when we finally got back, exhausted, but thankful.

The night Kristine and Tracy met

Shared by Kristine Schroeder on April 7, 2021
Taking over from where we left off in the Boston section where Tracy randomly chose to gate crash a meet up group event in Lynn, MA one evening in late March, 2012....

This was an anniversary event for a regional meetup group, held at an art gallery from ~4pm until a blue haired close of ~9pm.  I was hanging out with a few friends I had gotten to know through this meetup group and generally keeping to myself when each time I looked across the room, I locked eyes with this interesting looking woman I had never seen before, several tables away.  Over the course of dinner, it kept happening and we recognized it with a friendly smile.  After a couple of speeches, the music amped up and people started to dance, including my friends and I, and I couldn't help but notice Tracy's impressive dance moves.  I went back to our table until Tracy marched over to introduce herself and ask me to dance.  Of course, I did.....a most unexpected evening already.  Fast songs and fun moves lead to slower ones and the rapid close for the event....far too early.  My head was spinning....I kept thinking, "who is this person?".  While a few of us stayed behind to help the organizers put away chairs and tables, I learned that one of my friends (a former state trooper) had pulled Tracy aside for an inquisition to get the scoop.  She came over to me afterwards to start reporting her findings.....single, British, an attorney, manages a team, etc.  I marveled at how much data she had gathered so quickly and felt badly for the inquisition, but didn't really care.  I just knew this was someone very interesting that I had to get to know....and we weren't done with the evening. 

My friends and I asked locals for recommendations on where in Lynn we could continue the festivities and they suggested "The Blue Ox", a gastric bistro a few blocks away.  It did not disappoint....what a lovely place.  Anyway, Dana and Patti joined Tracy and I for snacks, beverages and lively conversation.  After a while, Dana and Patti left to go home and uncharacteristically, I was still not at all ready to end the evening with this most captivating person. Tracy and I stayed until like 1am  (everyone who knows me knows I'm a home and in bed by 10 kind of person) at the Blue Ox getting to know one another and Tracy could not remember where she parked her car (trademark her), so I drove her around until we found it, still hanging out in the car mostly talking.  I had never met anyone like her and it was as if we had known one another all our lives.  I had never felt so instantaneously connected to someone and wasn't even looking for that at the time, but here we were.  As I said before, when I held her hand for the first time that evening, it felt as natural as breathing and after a while, I couldn't tell where mine ended and hers started.  It was like that every day for our remaining 9 years.  

Whether you believe in this stuff or not, I learned later that she had been told by spiritual counselors that she was going to meet me in the weeks leading up to it.