1 entry
  • "Mrs. Nielsen was the principal at Chester Rowell Elementary..."
    - Kathy Burrows
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Hazel Nielsen was born in Laton, CA in 1920, and passed away peacefully on August 1, 2018. Hazel was born Hazel Ann Gonser to Nobel and Hazel Hemmer Gonser, the youngest of five children. Though she went on to travel the world, Hazel remained a local resident throughout her life. A graduate of Laton High School and Fresno State College, Hazel enjoyed a successfuly career as an educator and administrator, holding positions as both teacher and principal at several elementary schools between 1945 and 1975. Hazel was also active in the Fresno Teachers Association, California Teachers Association and the National Education Association, holding the role of President in all of these organizations at some point. Never content to sit the sideline, she went on to become President of the California Retired Teachers Association after her retirement from Fresno Unified School District. Hazel married Lt. Stewart E. Blanchard in 1942, and was widowed in 1944, the same year that daughter, Pamela Ann Blanchard was born. Hazel married Geoffrey D. Nielsen in 1964, and together they traveled extensively over the next 30 years. In retirement, Hazel was active in the Soroptimist Club, P.E.O., the Parlor Lecture Club, the Opera League and the Fig Garden Women's Club. Hazel is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Pamela and Willard Olds; grandchildren, Eric Olds and wife Jean, Nancy Olds Smay and husband David; great-grandchildren, Collin and Brayden Smay, and Jasmine Olds; step-children, Dr. Martin Nielsen and wife Karen, Laurie Nielsen Cortez, John Nielsen and wife Dee, Carole Nielsen Gilbert, and their families. The family would like to express their deep gratitude to the outstanding staff and caregivers at The Grove at San Joaquin Gardens, who cared for Hazel and filled her last days with warmth and love. At Hazel's request, there will be no service. She asked that remembrances be sent to the California Retired Teachers Association, 3930 E. Saginaw Way, Fresno, CA 93726.
Published in the Fresno Bee on Aug. 12, 2018