Hazel A. Matheson

Hazel A. Matheson

Hazel A. Matheson, born April 10th, 1929, passed away surrounded by her family on February 19th at the age of 83.

Hazel Antoinette Theisen was born in Star City, Saskatchewan, Canada. She lived with her parents, Frank and Mary Theisen, on a large farm on the verdant Canadian Prairies. Hazel was nicknamed "Happy" by her father, a fitting name that remained with her all her life. She attended a one-room schoolhouse, and with her younger brothers, Jack and Bill, and had an adventurous and happy childhood. As a young woman, Hazel was selected for a special accelerated teaching course at the Saskatchewan Normal School. Hazel was assigned a full-time teaching position away from home in Brooksby, Saskatchewan at the age of seventeen.

Hazel went back to University to become a regular teacher and moved to Lloydminster Saskatchewan in 1949. In Lloydminster she met her future husband, John Matheson. The couple was married on August 6th, 1951, and had two children: Greg in 1954, and Carol in 1958. In 1962, the Matheson family moved to Vancouver B. C., and in 1967, to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota.

The Matheson family moved to Bellevue, Washington in 1974. During that year, John Matheson founded Fibres International recycling company using a nest egg saved by Hazel. Over many years much of the success that John experienced in business could be attributed to Hazel's unselfish support of his career.

Hazel lived in Bellevue for 39 years with both her son and daughter close by. During this time she was involved at Overlake Presbyterian Church, Order of Eastern Star, and the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra League. Hazel was head of the Orchestra League Board in 1994. In 1996, Hazel and John Matheson established an Endowment for the Advancement of Nursing & Clinical Education through the Overlake Hospital Foundation.

In 2001 Hazel was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. She fought this disease with grace and determination. Hazel and John enjoyed retirement together including several trips to Great Britain. Hazel loved literature and poetry and was particularly moved to stand in the "Poet's Corner" in Westminster Abbey. At home, Hazel loved to socialize with her friends and was famous for her Garden and Boxing Day parties. She especially enjoyed time with her three granddaughters. Hazel and John celebrated their 61st Wedding Anniversary last August.

Hazel is survived by her husband John Matheson of Bellevue, brother William Theisen of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, son Greg Matheson and his wife, Carol of Kirkland, daughter Carol Swanson and her husband Michael of Auburn, and granddaughters Danika Swanson, Kayla Swanson, and Celine Swanson also of Auburn.

A Celebration of Hazel's life will be held at The Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way, in Bellevue, Washington at 3:00 PM on Sunday,March 17th. Memorials are requested instead of flowers to the Hazel and John Matheson Endowment for the Advancement of Nursing & Clinical Education through Overlake Hospital Foundation, 1035 116th Ave NE, Bellevue WA 98004.

Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 3, 2013