Patrick Alexander Hazel of Newport, Oregon died February 4 after suffering a fall at his home the previous day. His family was by his bedside when he passed. Pat leaves behind a rich legacy of family, service to his community, and love of country. He was 91 years old.
Pat is survived by two younger siblings, Maggie (Rich) of New Brunswick, Canada, and John (Betty) of Sutherlin, Oregon. Three of Pat’s brothers, Kevin, Richard, and Peter preceded him in death.
He is also survived by his five children (Mary, Lisa, Janice, Jennifer (Tom), and Patrick (Janeen) along with 19 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild, along with numerous nephews and nieces whose lives he followed with great interest and care. His beloved wife, Betty Jeanne (Thompson) Hazel, passed away in 2013. Pat and Betty were married for 58 years.
Born in Jerome, Arizona as the second of six children to Dr. James and Lenore Hazel, Pat grew up in San Mateo, California where he graduated from San Mateo High School, Class of 1947. He attended San Mateo City College before enlisting in the Air Force Cadets program in 1951. He received his commission in the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1952 and, after completing advanced training, was dispatched to active duty to the Korean Peninsula. Pat spent 3 years in-country as an F-84 combat pilot, combat flight instructor, and as a leader of many storied social adventures involving his fellow pilots. He was a proud member of the 310th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. Pat was honorably discharged from active duty in 1955 and, after service in the Air Force Reserves, left the Air Force having achieved the rank of Captain.
The United States Air Force played a defining role in Pat’s life, including creating the circumstances that led to Pat meeting his future bride, Betty, at an Air Force sponsored dance in San Francisco. Their romance blossomed from that first encounter and Pat and Betty were married in San Francisco on March 12, 1955. They began their life together in Monterey, California where Pat had begun an aerial fish-spotting business with his long-time friend, Jim Owens, serving the Monterey fishing fleet.
With a growing family but a declining Monterey Bay fish population, Pat embarked on a new career in water treatment that would lead the family to establish homes in Salinas, San Jose, Bakersfield, and Phoenix, Arizona before settling in the Santa Cruz Mountains above the town of Los Gatos, California, where Pat and Betty built their dream home and focused on raising their large family. It was during this period of Pat’s life when he became politically active on issues ranging from private property rights to public transportation. His activism eventually led him to run for public office and become involved in local Republican organizations, an interest that remained central to him for the rest of his life.
In 1987, Pat and Betty moved to Roseburg, Oregon and built a home in the hills overlooking the town. Betty began a new professional assignment as leader of the Douglas County Library System that same year and Pat went about building another company, making new friends, and finding new causes to assist. Within just a few years, Pat had become a highly involved member of the Roseburg community and committed himself to a variety of civic and philanthropic endeavors. Pat was recognized by the American Cancer Society (Roseburg chapter) as “Man of the Year” for his efforts with their 2003 campaign.
A few years after Betty’s retirement in 2000, Pat and Betty moved to Salem, Oregon where they built a home in 2005 and began their retirement years in earnest. These years were full of travel, camping, fishing, and entertaining their vast collection of friends and family. Family gatherings were frequent, fun, and increasingly large. Holidays at Pat and Betty’s house overflowed with food, children, music, and enthusiastic political discussion. These years were some of the best years of Pat’s life, and he regularly teared-up as he expressed his gratitude to his family and friends during his traditional Holiday toasts, a tradition that will be dearly missed by all those who were blessed to hear them.
Soon after Betty’s passing in 2013, Pat decided it was time to move again and he began a search for a small parcel of land on the Oregon coast where he could build his “Cliff House”. After a short time, Pat found the perfect spot in Newport, Oregon and, in 2014, “Hazel’s Cliff House” became Pat’s new home where he would happily live until his passing.
Pat’s life in Newport was exceptionally active and he continued his life-long practice of making new friends and helping those in need. He travelled constantly to see his friends and family, including an annual Air Force reunion and his much-loved annual “trek” to Hart Mountain organized by the Order of the Antelope. He kept close track of the lives and accomplishments of his growing number of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandchild that now formed his extended family.
Pat was active, lively, and great fun up until the day he died. This befits a man who spent a lifetime striving and smiling through the hard times, celebrating and appreciating the goodness in people, and refusing to ever let discouragement alter his winning attitude. He was a fighter pilot and, as Pat might say, “fighter pilots don’t have time to worry, they only have time to keep going”.
A celebration of his life will be scheduled later in the year with details to be provided in the coming weeks. Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.