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Jeff Hazard

1955 - 2019
Jeff Hazard

Sioux Falls - Jeff Hazard died of leukemia on 30 August 2019. Born Jeffery Alan Hazard to Robert (Bob) Hazard and Marilyn (Mim) Hazard on 24 August 1955, Jeff attended Washington Senior High before attending University of Kansas and University College, London. Graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Design with highest distinction. He went on to study at the University of Illinois where he earned Master of Architecture and Master of Business Administration degrees. His first full-time job was at Kaplan, McLaughlin, Diaz in San Francisco, California.

While in California, Jeff met Luverne native Sheila (Lorenzen) on a flight from Denver to Sioux Falls, rerouted to Moline, Illinois, due to blizzard conditions in Sioux Falls. While stranded at the airport in Moline, Sheila struck up a conversation with Jeff and this chance encounter led to 34 years of marriage and loving friendship.

Jeff served as a Healthcare Project Architect (and later Director) for nine years at Kaplan, McLaughlin, Diaz, before being asked by his father to return to Sioux Falls to help out at Koch Hazard Architects. He joined the firm in 1988 and, with a talented, dedicated team, built a great practice on an already solid foundation by producing thoughtful architecture projects at a variety of scales, approaching each design with an earnest inquiry into the character of a project's purpose, place and personality.

His preservation work spans the state, but can be most clearly seen in downtown Sioux Falls. Koch Hazard Architects has completed over 40 preservation projects in downtown, mostly designed and overseen by Jeff. One of his first projects more than 27 years ago was to gather a group of friends to buy the Southwestern Block at 12th and Phillips and then renovate it together in the evenings and on weekends. Jeff and Sheila changed the downtown landscape one project at time through investment and renovation over the last 30 years. Their most recent venture together was the Jones 421 building on Phillips Avenue.

Jeff's work with Koch Hazard has been recognized at the local, state and national levels. The Prairie Commons (Howard, SD) received an Environmental Protection Agency National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2011. Nearly 50 projects have been recognized by juries of national and regionally acclaimed architects through the AIA South Dakota Design Awards program. Not one for the spotlight or personal recognition, Jeff always appreciated awards for the awareness they bring to clients and their efforts.

Jeff's leadership in the profession and community included putting his creative skills to work building innovative organizations and events to elevate architecture and the industry of design in the state. Several examples include the Idea Exchange events, the Sioux Falls Green Project, the Plain Green Conference (a partnership with South Dakota State University) and the South Dakota Architecture Foundation, which created the Sioux Falls Design Center. In addition to building these innovative organizations, Jeff served on over 30 public or non-profit boards or committees over his career. Under Jeff's leadership, Koch Hazard was one of four firms to found the Architecture Department (DoArch) at SDSU.

Jeff's contributions to the architecture of South Dakota, the profession and especially to the community of Sioux Falls will be felt for generations. He relentlessly pursued the idea of continuous improvement and inspired and mentored those around him to do the same.

Jeff brought along his passion of art and architecture on his and Sheila's global travels. Their adventures, always researched and planned by Jeff, focused on the path less traveled. The influence from their travels impacted their daily lives and inspired Jeff's creativity at the firm. In addition to traveling, in his leisure time, Jeff enjoyed the family cabin in the Hills, reading, spending time with his wife and family, sharing good food and wine with friends, and a yearly game of Trivial Pursuit. In the Hazard family Christmas Eve tradition of playing the game, Jeff's teammates often counted on him to come up with answers in the "Art, Literature, History and Geography" categories.

Jeff was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Mim. He is survived by his wife Sheila; two siblings: Pam (Bill) Calderwood of Broomfield, Colorado, and Rob (Jill) Hazard of Sioux Falls; nieces and nephews: Erin (Ryan) Polen, Blake (Jess) Calderwood, Katie Calderwood, Nolan, Ashlyn and Caryn Hazard. In-laws: Randy (Becky) Lorenzen, Ryan (Rhonda) Lorenzen, Sharon (David) Boltjes, Sharlene (Jim) Vrtacnik; nieces and nephews: Emily (Drew) Albin, Hannah and Sarah Lorenzen, Hailey Boltjes, Josh (Kim) Vrtacnik, Joe (Courtney) Vrtacnik.

At Jeff's request, no traditional funeral will be held. Sheila will host a small gathering of family and friends at a later date. Sheila and Koch Hazard Architects invite the public to remember Jeff through his life's passion and projects. They will host a Celebration of Architecture Open House on Thursday, September 26, 2019, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Falls Center (431 N. Phillips Avenue, STE 200). If you would like to share your thoughts, memories or condolences in the interim, you can simply email [email protected].

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to LifeScape, Children's Home Society or Children's Inn.
Published in The Argus Leader on Sept. 4, 2019
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