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Michael Elijah Hawley

Michael Elijah Hawley completed his so-called nine lives December 2, 2022. He was 25 years young.

Elijah’s sudden departure left behind a multitude of heavy hearts for those who loved him and the many whose lives he touched positively throughout the years.

Born September 30, 1997, in Austin, Elijah’s heart was always as big as Texas. He especially loved his PaPa, Frank Monroe, and spent much of his newborn hours sleeping on his chest. They had a close father-son-like relationship throughout Elijah’s life.

Shortly after his birth, Elijah’s parents divorced, and he moved from his grandparents’ ranch in Wimberley, Texas with his mother and big sister, Mackenzie, to New Mexico. His mother remarried, when he was 2 years old, and Andrew Hawley took the children in as his own, adopting them a few years later.

Elijah’s love for music was apparent from infancy as he sat and bounced to the beat of the clothes dryer while his mom did the laundry. That passion went largely undeveloped until more recently in Colorado, where he focused more on writing his beats and performing publicly as “Yung Jah.”

Although Elijah did give his first kitten a bath in the toilet, he went on to become a genuine cat person.  The most common theme in pics of Elijah throughout his childhood depict him cradling a kitty. As an adult, he continued to text his mom pics of him and his cats. Her favorites, though, were always the simple and unexpected “I love you, Ma” texts late at night.

Always a free spirit, as soon as he could walk, Elijah was roaming. In parks, instead of playing on the playground, he made a beeline for the beyond. But all who wander are not lost. Elijah always had big dreams and innovative plans.

Most of Elijah’s formative years were spent in Gastonia, NC. He attended St. Michael Catholic School in elementary. At nine years old, he asked his beloved Mamaw for her Morning Glory Muffin recipe and started his own baking business.  Taking orders from neighbors, he would rise early before school and bake and deliver fresh muffins. It was the beginning of his lifelong entrepreneurial career.  His brother, Thomas, fondly remembers washing cars with Elijah for extra cash.

As the eldest son and second child in the family of 8 children, Elijah loved his siblings, and was especially close with his older sister, Mackenzie. He endearingly called his first younger sister, Mary Grace, who was born when he was five, “Baby Girl.”  Sebastian recalls Lego wars and Frankenstein machines. When sister, Eloise, was born, he adored her blonde curls and made her laugh as a baby. Sometimes, as brothers do, Elijah played pranks.  Once, donning a full body “Slender Man” morph suit, he ran across the backyard, terrifying his brother, John Henry, who hysterically screamed “Daddy, get the gun!!”

In a house with five boys, remote controlled cars and helicopters were a common Christmas or birthday request, regardless of the fact that they usually broke within a week. When Elijah moved out, his mom discovered a whole storage closet in his room filled with the parts of all these short-lived toys, as well as his own new-fangled electronic creations.  In high school, he used this love of electronics and tinkering to build a large remote controlled tank with PaPa’s help. Elijah went on to teach himself auto mechanics and was known for restoring vintage Toyotas and helping out friends with theirs.

Elijah joined his first summer swim team in Gastonia, NC at South Hampton Swim and Racquet Club at 9 years old. Impressed with the boy’s natural speed and talent, his coach suggested he consider competing year-round.  Elijah’s skills developed and increased while training and competing with the Gaston Gators year-round, and Wesley Acres Swim Club in the summers.

In high school, due to a cross country family move, Elijah and his big sister, Mackenzie, moved back to Texas to live with their Mamaw and PaPa. During his freshman year in Georgetown, Texas, Elijah attended St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School and swam for Texas Gold. He medaled third in the Texas private schools state meet in butterfly. Sophomore year, Elijah attended Gateway College Preparatory School and ran on the cross country team. He ran a Charlotte half-marathon and an Austin 10-miler with his Uncle Steve and Aunt Anne.

Later in high school, Mackenzie and Elijah made their way to Virginia. His mom decided to homeschool him for his senior year, which he quickly finished before turning 17 so he could spring to freedom and start his “grown up” life back in Texas with his “crew.”

At eighteen, Elijah bought a fixer-upper sailboat where he lived, docked in a harbor with some friends.  He went a whole year without shoes, by choice. His mom referred to him during those years as her “hippy pirate.”

Elijah’s friend Kyle shared this story Elijah would recount about living on the boat:

He said every day this goose would come up to them, hop on the boat and just chill with them          for hours. He brought such joy into the lives of everyone around him, people and animals alike          would just gravitate towards him. He just had that type of energy to him. He lived a beautiful,            crazy life, and I just thought to myself, I really wish I could have been there for that.

At that time, Elijah also was driving a Toyota he had restored to working order.  Late one night, driving back to the marina in the rain, his high speed on a curve resulted in the car clipping a rail, throwing the car into the air and a tree.  Elijah and his friend Devon were critically wounded, but thankfully survived. It was a long recovery for them both.

After recovering from the accident, Elijah moved to Colorado with some of his crew.  He loved writing beats, performing, and spending weekends in the mountains whenever he could. The last thing he said to his dear friend and roommate, Kyle, was “I’m so happy. I love you, and imma go write some beats.”

Elijah never bought his mom, Melissa Wakefield Hawley, the castle he promised her when he was 8, but she is hoping he is preparing one in heaven for her.  She profoundly misses him. He is mourned  by his father, Andrew Hawley, his sisters, Mackenzie, Mary Grace, and Eloise, and his brothers, Sebastian, Thomas, and John Henry. His youngest brother, Charlie, born after he left home, wishes he got to grow up and hang out with him.

Elijah also leaves behind a large extended family and many friends, including his grandfather, Frank R. Monroe (Laura Monroe); grandmother, Patricia M. Wakefield; aunt, Tracy Wakefield Southwick (Patrick Southwick); uncle Stephen Alan Wakefield, Jr. (Anne Richmond Wakefield); uncle, Mark Wakefield (who made a beautiful walnut urn for Elijah’s cremains) (Laura Monroe Wakefield); birth father, Sean M. Cox, half-sister, Madison, half-brother, Morgan, and dozens of nieces and nephews.

We hope Elijah is hanging out now with his grandmother, Charlotte Ellen Branch Monroe, (dec. 2017) and his grandfather, Stephen Alan Wakefield (dec. 2015).

On December 29, a low requiem mass was celebrated at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, VA by Fr. Thomas VanDerWoude for family and friends.

Elijah’s cremains will be laid to rest Friday, April 28, 2023 on his family’s property.

You were loved, and you loved so big, sweet Elijah. May the beats go on and on. And may perpetual light shine upon you.

Tribute video: https://rumble.com/v1zlwpa-sweet-elijah.html

Donations in Elijah’s memory can be made to The Elijah Fund (coming soon at https://americanpatriotrelief.org/)

Or to help finish his memorial garden https://www.givesendgo.com/ElijahsGarden


Click here to view a video of Michael Elijah Hawley’s memorial service. You can also purchase a DVD of his memorial service through this link.


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