When someone is identified as a natural leader, certain images come to mind. First thoughts are of a no-nonsense, tough-minded, dedicated and disciplined person. This description accurately fits Hazel Bolton who was indeed a born manager. She will be remembered as being highly organized, practical and realistic. She was a person who always carried a strong sense of duty with her throughout her life. Possessed with traditional "old school" morals, Hazel was an individual who clearly communicated to those around her just who she was and what she was all about. Everyone acquainted with Hazel knew her as a well-respected woman who was a stable force in her community.
Hazel was born on October 21, 1934 at the family home in Rienzi, Mississippi. Her parents were Richard Vester and Beulah Arzetta Elizabeth Willis Felks. Hazel was raised in Rienzi. Even as a youngster, Hazel learned to be objective and decisive. Her faith in the principles of authority and dependability was something that she carried with her throughout her life.
As a young girl, Hazel was able to put her natural abilities to work. She was a bit like the sergeant of the family, helping to make sure that the others did what they should do and that they avoided those things they weren't supposed to. In other words, she liked to organize and direct. Hazel was raised with one sibling. She had one sister, Ruthie May. Hazel had an inborn appreciation for the order in the family, allowing for the oldest members to be the most respected and to take on the most responsibility. For Hazel, this was a natural order of life, one she gladly embraced.
Hazel's matter-of-fact attitude about most things was developed during her childhood. As a young girl, Hazel enjoyed being part of teams, and organizations and groups of other kids who shared similar interests. Hazel took part in basketball where she was a starter on the Wheeler High School Basketball team. In her spare time she liked to sew. Hazel's memorable achievements included picking 300 lbs. of cotton per day growing up.
In school, Hazel was as close to being a model student as one could possibly imagine. She sought to achieve perfect attendance in all of her classes. She would eagerly complete her homework, and often put in extra study time when she felt it was necessary. A logical and focused thinker, Hazel was always good at following directions and meeting her schedules, whether they were set by her teachers or were self-imposed. Hazel's personal motto could well have been, "Do it right the first time." She attended Wheeler High School for three years, then finished her senior year at Marietta High School in 1953. She enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. Her favorite class in high school was home economics.
Hazel's practical work ethic carried over into her college years. Her logical mind permitted her to work hard without succumbing to the usual distractions of college life. She would tackle an assignment and work through it before moving onto the next project. Hazel's orderly nature gave way to establishing personal study habits and procedures that not only helped her stay on track but often put her ahead of schedule. When Hazel saw the need or benefit, she would willingly take on the extra assignment or even attend extra classes in order to learn more and become a better student. She earned her Associate Degree from Northeast Mississippi Junior College. She also went on to Blue Mountain College for one year but did not graduate. Her favorite professor was Dr. Rakestraw. She was married with two children while going to college.
Hazel was sociable and approachable. Because she was always so straightforward in how she approached relationships, friends and family knew that what they saw was always what they got. She enjoyed the camaraderie of being with a group of friends. When Hazel was a member of a group, her interaction worked to keep the others grounded. She wasn't afraid to confront her friends and, when necessary, she challenged them to stick to the task at hand. Those close to Hazel came to expect her high standards of performance. While growing up, some of her best friends were Betty Box. Later in life, she became friends with Martha Callis, Janie Cones, Laura Nagle, Dorothy O'Neal, and J. B. and Clydia Hinton.
An objective and conscientious individual, Hazel reveled in the security of her family. On October 24, 1952 Hazel exchanged wedding vows with Charles William Bolton at the Chandlers Chapel High School in Prentiss County, Mississippi. One of Hazel's most endearing qualities was her uncanny ability to remember important dates and anniversaries, and her unending enthusiasm for organizing a celebration for her family and friends.
Hazel was ever watchful of her children. She worried about them and was deeply concerned for their development as they grew up. She maintained a firm hand in their upbringing. Hazel would give her stamp of approval to their requests, as long as she could see how they might benefit. She also had the ability to enforce the rules as needed to ensure that her children were properly raised. Hazel was blessed with two children, a daughter, Beverly Gale and a son, Barry Lamar. They were also blessed with two grandsons, Jared Alan and Jeremy Cason Nobles.
Being a hard worker who praised efficiency, Hazel was always striving to make improvements where they were necessary. She was able to analyze situations and problems, keeping everything and everyone on track. An excellent project supervisor, Hazel was a person who could quickly make decisions based on the information available. She worked cooperatively and expected the same from her colleagues. In both her personal and professional environments, Hazel upheld her standards. Her primary occupation was factory worker and clerk. She was employed for Blue Bell Manufacturing, Marietta Manufacturing, sales representative for Luzier Cosmetics, Filter Queen Vacuum Cleaning Company, Premier Jewelry, Cameo Lingerie Company, and 16 1/2 years as clerk at Hancock Fabrics. Hazel was a team player who certainly lived out the motto of "give me a job, and I will get it done."
Hazel approached her leisure time in the same manner that she approached her life. A person who enjoyed being neat and orderly and one who understood the nature of things, she appreciated the hours she was able to devote to her various hobbies. Her favorite pursuits were fishing, quilting, sewing, flower arranging, and cake decorating. Hazel was content to enjoy her favorite pastimes alone but was also willing to share her interests with others.
Playing by the rules was a natural thing for Hazel to do in life and that carried over to her enjoyment of sports. In high school, Hazel played basketball. She also was something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching her favorite events whenever she got the opportunity. Tops on her list were professional baseball.
Being generous with her time and energy, Hazel liked to belong to a variety of groups and organizations. She was a vocal leader who enjoyed being a part of things. Her desire to uphold traditions and her ability to take charge of any type of project made her a tremendous asset. In high school, Hazel was a member of the Home Economics Club.
Faith was important to Hazel. She held high moral standards and was worried about the moral decay she saw around her. For that reason she held deep spiritual beliefs that she was willing to share. She was a member of Zion Rest Church of Christ for 19 years, and Southaven Church of Christ for 35 years. During that time, she provided food for those who needed it.
As someone who placed a high value on showing gratitude, Hazel could graciously accept a "thank you" extended to her by those she helped. However, individual recognition wasn't a motivating force for Hazel; rather, when she saw that there was a need to get something done, she was more than willing to give her time and energy in order to see it accomplished. Some of her most prestigious awards included various sales awards.
When it came time to travel or take a vacation, Hazel used her scheduling expertise to make sure everyone and everything was ready to go. That also meant that she made certain no single person was overworked in putting the trip together. Hazel had a knack for making sure that everyone who was involved had their specific tasks and that those tasks were completed. Favorite vacations included a trip to Tan Tara, to Miami, Florida and to Greece.
Hazel was a lover of animals and cherished her pets. One of Hazel's favorites was Chocolate, a poodle and Dinky, a chihuahua. They were best friends for Chocolate for over ten years and Dinky for 13 years.
When Hazel's retirement finally arrived in March 1, 2002, she was well prepared. She used her critical evaluation skills to make sure that every detail had been preplanned and attended to. Her new life involved relocating to Southaven, Mississippi. In retirement, she found new pleasure in quilting, cooking, and growing roses. In many ways, Hazel loved retirement. It provided her with the opportunity to catch up with her friends, attend functions and group outings, and tackle new interesting activities.
Hazel passed away on November 4, 2009 at Select Specialty Acute Care in the St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Hazel fought heart disease and kidney dialysis complications. She suffered a stroke and heart attack two days before her death. She is survived by her daughter, Beverly Glidewell; her son-in-law, Timothy Glidewell; her grandsons, Jared Nobles and Cason Nobles. Services were held at the McMillan Funeral Home Chapel in Booneville, Mississippi. Hazel was laid to rest in the Zion Rest Church of Christ Cemetery.
All who knew her would agree that Hazel was a pillar of the community. She lived her life with her feet firmly on the ground. She had a strong work ethic, was pragmatic in her thoughts and acts, and constantly sought the means for self-improvement. She was willing to share her ideas and knowledge for the benefit of others, so that they could accomplish more in their lives. Hazel Bolton did her best to ensure that her family, friends, loved ones, co-workers, and everyone whose life she touched was given the chance to become a better person.