Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Tribute to my Mother

My mother passed away suddenly on March 16. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and wife to my Dad for 69 years.

Mom's story:

Kay was born July 22, 1921 in Wichita, Kansas to Warren James Hazeltine and Lena Belle Eagleston Hazeltine. An only child, she was very close to her cousins who lived next door. Although her family didn’t have much during the depression, they were resourceful and grateful for what they did have. She learned to sew at an early age, a practical hobby that she continued to enjoy for many years. While attending East High School in Wichita, she met Lawrence Craig in her history class and thus began their 70+ year relationship. After graduating, she worked and also attended Kansas State, where she majored in Home Economics. Kay married her high school sweetheart on February 14, 1942. After a short time in Wichita, Kay and Lawrence moved to Colorado, where they learned to ski and met their longtime friends, the Chelminiaks. After the war they finished their schooling at U of Minnesota, moved to Seattle in 1947, and built their own home in Normandy Park. They raised their two children Larry and Joann and enjoyed many friendships in that community, where they lived for over 50 years. Above all, Kay took pride and delight in her cohesive family. Kay loved being a homemaker and was the perennial room-mother in Larry and Joann’s classrooms. She supported all

her children’s endeavors and became a “second mom” to several of their friends. The family spent winters skiing and summers boating together, often with a large group of friends from the boat club. They spent many evenings at home playing cards and eating ice cream.

Becoming a grandmother was a special joy for Kay. She loved being with her grandchildren, and invited them regularly for overnights at their house. Five times over the course of their childhoods the entire family went to Maui for Thanksgiving. Often at family gatherings she would remark to Lawrence, “Look what we started. There were two of us, and now there are ten.” She truly considered her family to be her legacy.

Kay’s hobbies and interests included sewing, knitting, traveling, meeting new people, and collecting glassware and angels. Lawrence and Kay traveled to destinations around the world, and were especially fond of Germany and Maui. But the northwest was their beloved home, where they never tired of the beauty of the mountains and the sound. They could be found cruising Puget Sound on their boat, the "Lady Kay", into their 80's. Everywhere Kay went, she found it easy and enjoyable to meet new people – and their dogs.

Kay is remembered as outgoing, spirited and adventurous, and will be deeply missed by her family and friends.

I wrote the following for her memorial service. This is my own personal reflection about what my mom meant to me. Dan read it for me.

Mom knew how to care for me throughout my life. It just came naturally to her. When I had difficulty going to sleep as a child, Mom would rub my back patiently and gently until I fell asleep. In her care for me, she also provided me with a wealth of experiences and opportunities, from piano lessons, to trips to the zoo, to story times that inspired in me a love for books and reading. I could always tell that Mom enjoyed being with Larry and me. She expertly got down at our level and played with us.

As a teenager, she found new ways to care. Mom encouraged Larry and me to bring our friends to our home, and she cared for them, too, always taking an interest in them. Regularly Mom drove our Ford LTD loaded with me and my friends to whatever sporting event we wanted to attend. Once in junior high I was seriously at odds with a teacher, and Mom tirelessly worked with the teacher and the principal to resolve the issue. Mom worried plenty about me, too. I suppose that is another part of caring.

In adulthood, the caring continued. She worked hard to take an appropriate role once I was married, still caring but not interfering. Mom and Dad visited my classroom when I was teaching and I knew they were proud of me. Mom still looked forward to spending time with me. She often came to my house to help me with my chores for that reason and we went on shopping trips and out to lunch together.

Mom blessed me in the way she cared for Celia and Colin. It was the same thing all over again. She played with them and gave them experiences and let them know how special they were.

Then in the last decade came the realization that the roles were reversing, and I found my self faced with the challenging privilege of caring for Mom. Dad set an example with his faithful and patient care for her. Their deep and abiding love for each other has been an inspiration to me and to the family.

Even in her dementia, Mom found ways to care for me. She recognized me and all of her family to the end.

1 comment:

pmoree said...

Joann: I enjoyed reading about your mom's life. I found your blog while searching for information on Warren James Hazeltine, who is my great uncle (my grandmother Dorotha Nellie Hazeltine and your grandfather Warren James Hazeltine were siblings). I would like to know what you know about the Hazeltine family. Please contact me via email
Patti Neikirk Moree