It is with much sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Gail Hawkins on March 3, 2020. Gail began her career with Schott Bros in 1981 first as a secretary and moving all the way up to become the purchasing manager. Her extensive knowledge of Schott jacket materials and styles led her to start taking customer service phone calls. Even after she retired in about 2014 we convinced Gail to continue working on the Forum section of our website. It wasn't all that hard because she actually loved doing it. Gail loved hearing from all of the members of the forum and it became a challenge to help identify some of the old jackets with which she wasn't already familiar.
After her retirement, Gail would occasionally visit the factory to help out at the annual factory sale or to pick up the new catalogs so she could stay on top of all of our new developments. It was always such a pleasure to have Gail around. She was just so nice and always with a positive attitude. Gail helped to make everyone else's day better. That's just who she was.
In 2009 we did a little interview with Gail that we intended to share with our fans, but it was never released. Below is a part of the discussion:
How long have you been working as Schott NYC?
28 Years [it ended up being 33 + years]
How many jackets do you own?
I don't even know! Probably about 75.
What is your favorite jacket?
My sheepskin coat. It is the warmest coat I own. No matter how bitter cold & windy it is, this coat keeps me warm.
From your time at Schott NYC, what is your favorite store/memory?
My favorite memory is Irving Schott in his 90's walking around the factory to all of the departments daily. He always had a smile on his face wishing everyone a cheerful "Good Morning".
What has changed since you started?
Computers would be the biggest change for me. From doing my work in long hand on paper to figure out how much to order I can now enter my work in the computer to place orders. The website has also allowed us to offer our items to customers not near a retailer. I have had the opportunity to have contact with people throughout the world!
What has stayed the same?
Employees caring about their jobs and their fellow workers. Producing a quality item in workmanship and materials. The Schott family working alongside their employees when a job has to be done.
What makes Schott special to you?
I do not think of Schott as a company but as my extended family. Through the years our families intertwine. You share good times, bad times, losses and births. The Schott family made me feel like a part of their family. To work for a company for 28 [33+] years they have to be doing something right.
Actually, it was Gail that was doing so much right. We will all sorely miss her. This forum will never be the same without her.
Gail was a very dedicated member of her church. For anyone who wishes to do something in honor of Gail,
Memorial Donations may be made to:
First Presbyterian Church 150 N. Broadway South Amboy, NJ 08879
If anyone had a positive interaction with Gail either in person or through this forum, I'm sure her family (and we) would love to hear about it.
Attached is a photo of Gail from her desk in our factory in Perth Amboy in the 1980's. Obviously this is before we started with the computers because there is no computer on her desk.
Dear Jason and everyone from the Schott family and the Schott community,
I'm very saddened and very sorry to hear about Gail's passing. I realised a couple of weeks ago that she stopped replying on the forum, so i was afraid he cancer might have come back. I'm so sorry.
Before I bought my first vintage Schott jacket, I had a lot of questions about its authenticity and dating. Especially because living in Europe makes it much harder to find them.
Gail helpt me out with all my questions. She literally had an answer to all of them. She was a source of knowledge and I looked up to her how she was so much dedicated to the jackets and helping everyone out on the forum.
Thank you Gail, the forum won't be the same without you.
I think that Gail was the link between the golden era and today. She had worked with the founder of the company and she was a witness of what was a magic moment for Schott and for the customers. Nostalgic is the feeling I have within. Ciao Gail thanks .
That ia real sad news. Even though I could never meet her, I read a lot of her informative replies on pretty much every non classified post on the forum. She seemed so happy to help, even during those time when she must have been clearly battling ill health
Terribly sad news. My first "real" leather jacket was purchased from you at Schott. And in big part because of this forum and from reading Gails responses and information. She was a great asset for you guys. I also hope youll have someone else be able to step in here and fill her awfull big shoes.
It is clear that Schott cares about people by the extraordinary customer service they provide and through the highly dedicated people they hire. It says something about a company when an employee enjoys her work so much that the work experience transcends and becomes a part of her life. If only all of us could be as lucky. I will miss Gail’s thorough and thoughtful answers to such a variety of questions to which she gave responses.
I started my Schott jacket collection because of Gail's helpfulness in identifying my first vintage Schott that had no tags. At the time I was just getting into leather jackets and knew I would be collecting them because of the great history each one has, but I was not sure which brand really spoke to me. I had jackets from 4-5 other makers, but it was Gail's response to me and the obvious presence she had on this forum that made it clear the true family and history of Schott. I decided that Schott was the brand I wanted to stick with and haven't looked back. While Gail was less available over the last few months I have tried to add some replies when I can, but it's a tough job! I think the knowledge and passion that Gail brought to her work is truly irreplaceable and she will be missed. My thoughts are with her family.
I had a bad feeling when i didn't see her answer on the forum the past few weeks
She helped me identify numerous jacket, including my first one, she was always so nice
Rest in peace Gail you will be truly missed and i for sure will never forget you
Very sad to hear the news about Gail. You could tell she knew her stuff and was extreamly proud of the Schott company she worked for. I own four Schott jackets and she helped me out one time with a question. I'm also proud of your entire company for not like many other companies moving your jobs outside the USA. God Bless Gail and also your company.