Jean Virginia (Fawcett) Hazzard (1915 - 2013)

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AMHERST - Jean Virginia Fawcett Hazzard, 97, died peacefully at home Jan. 22, 2013, in Amherst.

She was the wife of George W. Hazzard, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 1969 to 1975. Dr. Hazzard died in 1989.

Jean was born Oct. 18, 1915, in Youngstown, Ohio, the oldest child of Luther T. and Clara Sherwood Fawcett.

During her high school years in Youngstown, she played piano and the cello with school and city orchestras. She graduated from Lake Erie College near Cleveland in 1937 with a major in organ and earned her master's degree in psychology from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. in 1939. At the university, she met George Hazzard, whom she married in 1940.

She and George moved to Ithaca, N.Y., where he earned a doctorate in physics from Cornell, then returned to Canton, where George joined the physics faculty. This is where their children were born. The family moved to Schenectady, N.Y., in 1953 then to St. Louis in 1965 and ultimately to Worcester in 1969, following the course of George's career.

In 1952 Jean and George built a cabin in the Adirondacks on Carry Falls Reservoir and enjoyed many happy days there with their children and, later, their grandchildren.

Jean always kept family at the center of her life. Generosity, optimism and service to others were her guiding lights. When her children were young, she gave piano lessons, played organ, led her church choir and was active in the League of Women Voters. She continued to play piano with great pleasure until a few weeks before her death.

After her own children were grown, Jean pursued her career as a school and child psychologist wherever she lived. In Worcester she served on the board of the Child Guidance Association, chaired the Allen Fund of the United Way and was the first woman trustee at Worcester County National Bank.

She was a founder of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the first chair of its Social Service Corporation. She was one of the first women to challenge the Worcester Club's rule that women could not enter by the front door.

After retiring to Petersham, Jean was active in the First Congregational Parish, Unitarian, and worked with Valuing Our Children in Athol.

Following her husband's death, Jean moved to Applewood in Amherst, where she made new friends, served on various committees and performed piano in Sunday afternoon concerts. In 1998 she married Dorman Priest, an old friend from St. Lawrence days. He joined her at Applewood and they enjoyed their later years together until his death in November 2011.

Jean is survived by three children, Anne Hazzard of Pelham, Ruth Hazzard and her husband Claude Tellier of Amherst and Edmund Hazzard and wife Marian of Grafton; four grandchildren, Emily Hazzard and husband Stefan Dupont of Cleveland, Ohio, Phoebe Hazzard and husband Stephen Stroud of Amherst, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins and wife Anna Patton of Brattleboro, Vt., and Jesse Readlynn and wife Jennifer of Rochester, N.Y.; four great-grandchildren; two brothers, Sherwood Fawcett and Norman Fawcett of Columbus, Ohio; and a sister-in-law Ruth Ann James of Annapolis, Md.

She was predeceased by a son Jeffrey, Ed's twin, who died at age two and a half, her sister Ruth Bosworth, her brother-in-law Robbins Bosworth and sister-in-law Virginia Hazzard.

A memorial service will be held on April 6 at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Church in Petersham.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 or to a that serves children.

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Feb. 6, 2013