History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.

Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.

Our History

The facilities of Hope Valley Funeral Service and Cremation may look small, but within these walls you’ll find more professional, compassionate service than you’ll see in the larger firms of Sampson County.

Our staff of highly trained and experienced professionals consistently demonstrates the genuine care and concern that has become our hallmark. We invite you to call us at (910) 592.0061, or come by, to learn the depth of our commitment to helping your family through this challenging time. Time and again we’ve provided the families of Sampson County and the surrounding counties with quality professional funeral services at very affordable prices. Let us do the same for you.


Our Valued Staff

Paul Thomas Ayers Hawkins

Paul Thomas Ayers Hawkins, Licensed Funeral Director and Owner

Paul is proud of the fact that he was named after the late Dr. James Ayers, MD, a close family friend. He traces his passion back to when he was 10 years old, and his love of animals of all kinds led him to stage funerals for those creatures who succumbed to incident and accident, in his family’s back yard on Johnson Street, in Clinton. It was there he learned the simple, healing value of ceremony. At the age of 15 Paul started helping at Royal Hall Funeral Home, under the late Romer Hall. His passion for caring for others led him to work on the Clinton Rescue and Fire Department for over 20 years. He’s proud of the fact that in 1992, he was appointed the first full-time paid firefighter in the City of Clinton, under Chief Leonard Edge. Paul is a graduate of Clinton High School, having received his diploma in 1984. Just a year later he started his apprenticeship at Crumpler-Honeycutt Funeral Home under the guidance of the late James Furman Honeycutt, and the late Gene Barefoot. It was later, in 1987 that Paul graduated from the Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service. The plans to open his own funeral home came through the collaborative dream of Paul. He opened Hope Valley Funeral Service & Cremation on January 19th, 2009. Paul has been a member of Clinton Fire & Rescue for over 20 years giving back to the people of Clinton and Sampson County,Paul was the Co-Founder of Sampson County Fireman's Honor also a Faithful Member of Clinton Family Worship Center under the leadership of Pastor Lynn Blackburn. Paul has four children, Heather Dawn 24 lives in Dallas TX, Andrew Paul of Clinton, Madison Reese , and Kipp Alterman both of the Home.


Fonda Hawkins

Fonda Hawkins, Operations


Maria Norma Austin

Maria Norma Austin, Director of International Affairs

Maria, lovingly called “Norma,” has always been a caring, attentive person. As a young child, she took care of her younger sisters while her parents worked in the fields; and she could often be found helping the seniors in the neighborhood with their chores, or simply sit with them to ease their loneliness. Her early formal training was as a Certified Nursing Assistant, and she spent her young adulthood working in a convalescent home. She happily returned to that role after serving her country in the U.S. Army. Norma returned to college to receive her certification as an Activity Director. She found herself still working with seniors, only in a different capacity. “My favorite clients were those with Alzheimer’s disease, because they taught me just how quickly life can change. Our ‘hold on reality’ - which we take for granted most of the time, is very thin.” Everything Norma has done in her life has led her here, to Hope Valley. It is here she can express her deep affection for people, and her heart-felt commitment to caring for them when they need it most. “I know that no one comes through these doors without a tender heart waiting for them. Working here I am able to be at my best.”


Ret. Naval Officer George Hawkins Sr.

Ret. Naval Officer George Hawkins Sr., Operation


Margaret Fann

Margaret Fann, Memorial Stone Sales


Jerry Nowling

Jerry Nowling, Operations