Mary Elizabeth (Willis) Hazelwood, 97, of St. Joseph, Missouri, passed away in her home Sunday, July 20, 2014, surrounded by her children.
Mary was born April 2, 1917, in St. Joseph, Missouri to Charles and Rosa Lena (Blankenship) Willis. She attended Pickett High School until the family needed her to help on the farm. Family was her priority, and she loved them dearly.
Nicknamed Sunny by her father, she was always cheerful and full of life. Even at 97, Mary was spunky and had a wonderful sense of humor. She was a diehard Royals fan and was fueled by Pepsi and Hershey’s and Russell Stover chocolates.
On November 2, 1933, Mary married William Oscar Hazelwood, who preceded her in death on November 9, 2000, after 67 wonderful years of marriage. They were the perfect picture of what marriage should be. Her love for him was strong even after his death.
Mary made many friends whose lives she touched along the way. She was a member of McCarthy Baptist Church, where she sang in the choir with her brother, Robert. She later became a member of Woodbine Baptist Church, then Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for many years. She later returned to McCarthy.
After getting married, she went to work at Big Smith Manufacturing for several years. She then went to Westab, where she worked for three months until she found out she was pregnant with her first child. After her children were older, Mary and her husband, Oscar, enjoyed working together at Hazelwood Sewing Services, the business they started in their basement in the 1960’s. Mary kept working until she was in her 90’s, always finding projects to keep her busy. More often than not, those projects included setting something on fire or painting.
While not busy working, Mary and Oscar loved spending time at their campgrounds in Polo and Warsaw, Missouri, where they created a home away from home. They worked hard in everything they did, and they had fun in the process. Many wonderful memories were made while camping or traveling with friends and family. Affectionately called Grandma Doll by her younger grandchildren, Mary held a very special place in the hearts of those who knew her.
Along with her parents and husband, Mary was preceded in death by her son, Gary Hazelwood; son-in-law, Jim Poirier; brothers, Ben, Robert, Jack, Joe and Bill; sister, Lillian Delores (Dee) and two infant sisters.
Mary is survived by her daughter, JoAnn Poirier of Savannah; her son, Chuck (Angie) Hazelwood of St. Joseph; daughter-in-law, Linda Hazelwood of St. Joseph; 11 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and others whom she loved dearly.
Services 1 P.M. Wednesday at Heaton-Bowman-Smith & Sidenfaden Chapel. Interment Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will begin after 12 Noon, Tuesday at our Chapel, where the family will receive friends from 6 to 8 P.M. Tuesday evening.
The family suggests memorials to the McCarthy Baptist Church or the American Cancer Society.