Hazel Shelton Abernethy died in Nacogdoches on March 22, 2012. Hazel was born in Nacogdoches on May 20, 1927, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Shelton, who had come to Nacogdoches in 1923 as a faculty family for the opening of Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College. Coach Bob Shelton was SFA's first coach and athletic director and later was Dean of Men.
Hazel was blessed with a long, rich, full life and with kin and friends who loved her dearly. She was grateful that she was able to do everything that she had wanted to do-have children, teach, act, and have cats and dogs in the house. Hazel's last discernable words were "I love you," and all she wanted for a eulogy was someone to say "Thank you" for her joyful trip through life.
Hazel went to SFA's Demonstration School through junior high. She graduated in 1944 from Nacogdoches High School, where she was Student Body President. She graduated from SFA in 1948, where she was Miss SFA and Carolyn Thompson Hill Award recipient. She received her M.A. from SFA in 1971 and taught in SFA's history department. At one time Hazel was teaching history at SFA, her husband was teaching English, and her son Robert was teaching geology. All of her children attended SFA, and Hazel was a devoted alumna.
Hazel married Francis Edward Abernethy, her high school sweetheart, on June 12, 1948. She is survived by her husband and children: Luanna Cherry Cole and husband Charles, Robert Morris Abernethy and wife Kim, Sarah Elizabeth "Deedy" Abernethy and friend Todd Weidner, Margaret Leslie "Maggie" Abernethy-Duffin and husband John, and Benjamin Talbot Abernethy and wife Penny. By her grandchildren: Elizabeth Davis Reeves, Sgt. Edward Cole, Leslie Cole, Patrick Abernethy, Sarah Abernethy, and Jack Duffin. And by her great grandchildren: Brittany and Justin Cole and Dylan and Abigail Reeves. Hazel is also survived by her sister Dorothy Shelton Morgan and the Morgan family.
Hazel's devotion was to her children, husband, home, dogs, and cats (in that order), but she was happily and continually involved in other civic ventures. She was a member of her treasured Methodist Circle and member of the Heritage Club since 1965. She was in Nacogdoches Women's Hall of Fame, she served two terms as President of the City Federation of Women's Clubs, and she was named as a Distinguished Alumna of NHS. Hazel was a gifted speaker and presented programs throughout her professional career.
During the Fiftieth Anniversary of World War II Hazel wrote "The Home Front: 1941-1945," which was published by the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce. The article was later selected by a national high school textbook company and was published with her audiotape and used for many years in the U. S. and by the armed forces schools abroad. Hazel loved an audience-her children and husband, her students, strangers in an elevator-and her favorite extra-familial activity was her involvement in Sarah McMullen's Lamplite Theatre. She began her thirty-odd years of acting, building, and back-staging with Lamplite in 1970s and was a devoted Lampliter ever since. Hazel loved the theatre, and when she visited London she and Ab went to a play every night, with a frequent matinee.
Hazel loved to travel, as long as she had clean sheets, tea and crumpets at ten, and an "arf pint lager" after the show. She loved touring Australia, all of Europe, particularly Italy, but her traveling-heart's home was Ireland and the British Isles, and ultimately, London.
Hazel was the hearth and heartbeat of her home and her family and was a much loved and a much loving wife, mother, and grandmother.
Visitation will be at the Cason-Monk Funeral Home from 6-8 pm on Saturday, March 24, 2012.
Services will be at the chapel in Cason-Monk Funeral Home on Sunday, March 25, 2012, at 2 pm.
Memorial donations can be made to any of the several Alzheimer's Research foundations and to Heart to Heart Hospice for their care and support.
Pallbearers will be her grandchildren: Elizabeth Davis Reeves, Sgt. Edward Cole, Leslie Cole, Patrick Abernethy, Sarah Abernethy, and Jack Duffin.
Online Condolences may be offered at www.casonmonk-metcalf.com. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors.