Wilbur Clayton Hawk, newspaper publisher, one of seven children of Layfette and Harriet (Pitt) Hawk, was born on February 10, 1881, in Bakersville, Ohio. He received his early education at Effingham, Kansas, and began teaching school at the age of seventeen. At nineteen he entered the University of Kansas but gave up his college work after suffering a broken leg in football practice. In 1901 Hawk obtained a job as a clerk in a clothing store in Atchison, Kansas, and four years later became the store manager. In 1911 he became deputy warden at the federal penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia, where he stayed for three years. He returned to Atchison in 1914, entered the publishing business, and became co-owner of the Atchison Globe with Eugene Alexander Howe. During the early 1920s, as president of the Lindsay-Nunn Publishing Company, Hawk became involved in regional politics and numbered Alf M. Landon, Clyde Tingley, and James Allred among his friends. He was chairman of the Republican state committee of Kansas from 1922 to 1924 and chaired the state delegation to the Republican national convention at Cleveland in 1924.
In 1925 Howe induced Hawk to move to Amarillo to help manage the Amarillo Globe, which Howe had begun the previous year. Hawk was instrumental in the synthesis of the Amarillo Globe-News Publishing Company, formed with the purchase of the city's Morning News in 1926, and became its general manager (see AMARILLO NEWS AND GLOBE-TIMES). He was a member of the Texas delegation to the 1928 Republican convention in Kansas City. On March 16, 1929, Hawk married Mrs. Hallie Lucas. As the Globe-News Company prospered during the Panhandle oil boom, Hawk obtained interest in the Memphis Democrat, El Paso Times, Midland Reporter-Telegram, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Dalhart Texan, Shamrock Texan, and several out-of-state papers. He also served as president of the Plains Broadcasting Company.
As a civic leader Hawk possessed seemingly boundless energy. For seven years he served as president of the Tri-State Fair and built it into a major annual exposition. In addition he was a member of the Texas Planning Board, a director of the Texas Centennial Commission, and, in 1932–33, president of the West Texas Chamber of Commerce. He also was a member of the Rotary Club and a director of the Community Chest and Red Cross. He directed the first Potter County Relief Board during the early years of the Great Depression, handling relief funds locally and aiding in their distribution throughout the Panhandle before the advent of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Civil Works Administration, and other federal agencies. His hectic pace eventually served to break his health, and on February 12, 1936, he succumbed to a sudden heart attack at his Amarillo home. He was interred in the Llano Mausoleum in Amarillo.