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… 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.