Local folks who know our family, and those who have read the book, know that Hazel died unexpectedly at a young age.
Hazel and Dale married in 1954, and Hazel’s main ambition was to be a farmer’s wife and a mother. By 1961, Hazel’s brothers, Donald and Larry, were both married and each had their first child. Hazel was still not even pregnant. And Donald was working on his second one, born in 1961.
Donald and his wife, Ruth Ann, with their sons, Greg and Jeff (the infant):
Larry and his wife, Carole, with their son, Tony:
Here’s Hazel holding Larry’s son, on the left, and Donald’s son, on the right:
Even Dale’s brother, Damon, was married by now and had a daughter, Susan:
So when a little boy came up for adoption in their area, Dale and Hazel decided to adopt.
They named him Gary.
Mildred and Vern were grandparents of four little boys!
And Hazel found out she was pregnant! I was born in 1962, the first girl among the grandchildren on Hazel’s side of the family.
In 1962, Donald and Larry each had another son, making 3 boys for Donald, and 2 boys for Larry. What a group!
After 14 months, I finally learned how to walk. My mother wrote in my baby book: “A slow walker, but a fast talker.” I must get that from my father!
Then I turned three,
and Hazel gave birth to her third child on Christmas Eve, 1965 — Darin:
He was quite the active little fellow, and still is!
Gary, the dutiful big brother:
In 1968, Hazel was pregnant for the third time, with her fourth child, and in early 1969, she contracted the Hong Kong flu. Dale was working full time, and since Hazel was so sick, she and us three kids went to stay with Hazel’s parents, so Hazel would have help and could rest.
The doctor was concerned about Hazel’s weakened state from the flu when she went into labor on February 11th, 1969. Not having enough strength to deliver the baby normally, it was decided to do a C-section, and during that procedure, something went horribly awry.
The baby was saved, a little girl they named Katherine Louise. But due to complications from the procedure, Hazel entered a vegetative state that she never recovered from. She passed away on February 17th, 1969 — 48 years ago today. Katy was only 6 days old.
Hazel’s unexpected passing left the community and all who knew her and Dale in shock, and left Dale with four small children to raise.
Hazel was laid to rest in the Locust Grove Cemetery in Callao, not far from where she lived, and only a few blocks from the school she attended while writing in her little red diary.
And her Happily Ever After with Dale came to an end.