Betty Hazel(1930 - 2013)

Betty Jeanne (Thompson) Hazel

September 6, 1930 - July 12, 2013

SALEM - Betty Jeanne Hazel passed away peacefully on Friday evening, July 12th at her home in Salem, Oregon with her husband and family at her side. She was 82. Mrs. Hazel is survived by her husband of 58 years, Patrick A. Hazel of Salem, her younger sister Mary and brother-in-law Ray Faraca of Kellogg, Idaho, five children, 17 grand-children, and 4 great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Betty Hazel was born on September 6, 1930, in Preston, Idaho the first of two daughters to Euretta (Cutler) and Jay Thompson. Mr. Thompson was a prominent track and field athlete at the University of Idaho and Principal and track coach of Moscow High School in Moscow, Idaho while her mother was a career educator in the public school system. Betty was an honors graduate of Moscow High School and the University of Idaho where she received her Bachelors degree in English and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and the Alpha Phi sorority. In 1975, she earned her Master of Science degree in Library Science from San Jose State University.

After graduating from the University of Idaho in 1952, Mrs. Hazel moved to San Francisco where she worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1953, she met then USAF fighter pilot Lt. Patrick A. Hazel at a USO dance just prior to his deployment to Korea. They were married in San Francisco on March 12, 1955 when he returned safely from his tour of duty and they began their new life together in Pasadena, California where their first daughter was born. Soon, they relocated to the Monterey Peninsula where her husband was an aerial fish-spotter for the Monterey fishing fleet off of Cannery Row and where they welcomed the rest of their children into the world.

Professionally, Mrs. Hazel spent many years as a public school teacher before pursuing a career as a librarian and library administrator. Between 1974 and 1986, she enjoyed significant professional success in her field of Library Science and became a senior administrator for the San Jose Public Library system before taking on a new assignment as Director of the Douglas County Library System in Roseburg, Oregon in 1987. Despite her growing management seniority, her passion remained always with the practice of librarianship, reading to children, and pinch-hitting on the reference desk where no inquiry was left unanswered.

Among Mrs. Hazel's most lasting achievements in her professional endeavors was the funding and completion of a new Douglas County central library and headquarters which opened to great acclaim in Roseburg in 1994. The state-of-the-art facility, which required significant collaboration with the community and both private and public funding sources, has become a center for learning and culture in the region. Mrs. Hazel retired as Library Director after a very full and successful career in 2000.

Mrs. Hazel's family life was equally active and successful. She was blessed with five children, Mary, of Keizer, Oregon; Lisa, of Phoenix, Arizona; Janice, of Lake Oswego, Oregon; Jennifer, of Fort Bragg, California, and son Patrick, of Rancho Santa Fe, California. She was fully involved and a part of all of her children's and grandchildren's lives. As she and her husband Pat moved from town to town across the West (Pasadena, San Mateo, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Bakersfield, Phoenix, San Jose, and Los Gatos before moving to Southern Oregon in 1987), she managed to keep all of her children productive and happy and was especially proud of her children's various and substantial achievements. She was particularly gratified to see all of her children achieve undergraduate degrees as well as graduate degrees in law, social sciences, and business.

Her grandchildren were a special blessing for her and she reveled in their successes. Of special meaning to her was the courage shown by her oldest daughter, Mary, in raising a special needs child through adulthood. She often mentioned the love and affection she had for the spouses of her children including Christopher M. Skelly (Lisa), Greg Oldham (Janice), Tom Owen (Jennifer) and her "favorite" daughter in law, Janeen Hazel (Patrick).

Betty, as she was known to all, exemplified a powerful yet gracious resolve in life that continues to inspire and fortify her children and extended family. Over a lifetime of variously challenging and unforgettable moments, she showed all in her wide circle of admirers how to live a life of great dignity. Her capacity to manage a demanding professional career, a large and diverse family, and the needs of her large collection of friends and colleagues was truly impressive. Never complaining, always supportive, Betty was a gentle and strong soul everyone counted on to keep her wide circle of friends and family standing up and moving forward.

Betty's example lives on in each of us. She taught us to be stronger than the adversity we faced, kinder that we sometimes wanted to be, and to live optimistically and ready for life's next opening door. Her legacy is an extended family of strong and purpose-driven individuals, each aware and so appreciative of her sacrifice in building a large and prosperous family. We will all live with her in our hearts forever, our daily decisions somehow shaped and improved by her lasting example.

The immediate family held a private gathering immediately after Mrs. Hazel's passing and is planning a memorial event with her extended family and friends in late summer. Information regarding the memorial will be forthcoming. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to your local library or Hospice or the non-profit Willamette Family Medical Center (, all efforts important to Betty, Pat, and their children. The family wishes to extend a special note of heartfelt appreciation to Betty's loving caregivers during her illness, especially her primary caregivers Karen Hernandez and Lorena Hernandez, and a wonderful supporting cast including Jessica Vasquez, Lisette Calderon, Julie Nole, and Elsa Torres. Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting Jennifer Owen at

Funeral Home

Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service and Oakleaf Crematory
605 Commercial St SE Salem, OR 97301
(503) 3642257

Published in StatesmanJournal on July 17, 2013