Life History of Hazel Adeline Post McRae

Presented at her funeral on 15 February 1983 by William H. Luke, and written by her sister, Frances Marie Post Luke.

Hazel Adeline Post was born 29 June 1906 in Saint David, Arizona. She was the fifth child of Howard O. and Tressie May Evans Post. Of the eleven children in this family, seven survive Hazel. In her life story she says, "I love my family -- my brothers and sisters, and they are very dear to me."

Hazel told about growing up in Saint David. She remembered feeling happy and honored to play with her brother, Kelvin -- using horse shoes to build roads, bridges and barns. She wrote of the time she and Kelvin, who was about ten years old, drove the wagon and horses home. Shortcutting, they went across a wash and the horses got into quicksand up to their bellies. They and the horses were eventually rescued.

On July 4th and 24th the community had large celebrations. Hazel enjoyed these glorious occasions with families picnicking together, playing games, dancing, rodeoing, and having soda pop and ice cream, things that were really special treats. She wrote of the May Day party where the Maypole was wound after many long practices to make sure it would be done correctly. The children walked to school. After the children across the river had a bus to ride, she often envied them. Hazel loved school, books, and the activities of school. She loved many of the teachers.

She remembered the family trips to the Gila Wash to gather the winter's supply of black walnuts. One pastime activity was to sit around the pile of walnuts, crack them and eat the nuts.

At one time the family's water supply was from Francis Goodman's well. Sometimes when Hazel was sent for water, she would get side-tracked by the swing that hung from the huge cottonwood trees.

Lola, Hazel and the Tilton girls were walking to Stanton's home in Lonesome Valley. A snake was about to get a rabbit, but the girls scared it and it went up a tree. The girls got sticks and knocked it out of the tree. It headed for its hole but they got hold of its tail before it disappeared, put a rock on it and took its rattlers. They went home very proud, only to receive a lecture on their foolishness.

Besides all the fun things Hazel enjoyed she also learned early to work: feeding chickens, gathering eggs, carrying wood, washing dishes, laundry, helping with the babies, weeding garden, bottling food, making soap, sewing carpet rags, and on and on the list goes.

Hazel met Walter when she was fifteen. He was a handsome and industrious young man. Her picture shows a beautiful young girl -- so one can understand Walter's love on sight. Walter says Hazel was the only girl he ever had. After her "Papa" said he could take her home from the dance, he got lots of exercise walking to see her as often as possible. Once it was raining and he thought he would skip his regular visit, but Walter's father said, "Faint heart never won fair maid." That night he literally waded home, at times through quite deep water. He won the fair maid and on 27 September 1923, when Hazel was just seventeen, they were married in her home by Bishop William Goodman.

The next morning they left for Salt Lake City to be sealed in the temple. Walter had a Model T Ford and he had fixed the seat so it would recline in such a way that they had a bed. They would drive late, pull off the road and have their version of a motor home. One night they heard cars all night. In the morning they discovered they had stopped where the road divided -- right in full view of all who passed. After five long days they arrived in Salt Lake. Hazel recorded that they went to the temple at 7:00 a.m. and came out at 4:00 p.m. -- and that was one session!

Their first home was in Bisbee, Arizona. It had 144 steps up to it. Walter was raised in Bisbee and he worked at the mine. Barbara, June and Nadine were born in Bisbee. In 1928 they moved to St. David and Walter started to work at Apache Powder Company. At first they lived in the house Hazel's parents had left when they moved to Tucson.

The depression came and times were hard. Walter's brother, George, and his wife, Gladys, and their family shared a home with Walter and Hazel. Hazel and Gladys had a garden and chickens. Hazel wrote that they had food always -- "Maybe not what we would have liked" -- but they did have food. Hazel said, "Gladys and I enjoyed each other and have been as close as two sisters could be." Many were surprised that they could still be such dear friends after living in the same house for several years. Eventually they each had a new house, side by side. Dona was born at this time.

Their first son, Stanley, was born in 1934, and it was with sorrow that he lost his life in a car accident at age twenty. Lorin was born two years after Stanley. By this time they were living in a small lumber house on their ten acres west of the river. Little by little they built their present home. Elizabeth was born just after they had moved into their partly finished home. Phyllis was born at a time when the older children had whooping cough.

No doubt the children could tell many funny, interesting, loving stories about their experiences with their parents. They would all agree that their parents were fine, righteous, and upright people who always worked hard and who loved their children deeply. They taught them and helped them become the wonderful adults they are today.

Hazel and Walter both served faithfully in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Hazel taught in Primary and Sunday School, was a Stake missionary, a Young Women's president, twice a Relief Society president, and for seventeen years was Sunday School secretary. Walter and Hazel served in 1974 in the Nauvoo Mission -- at Carthage Jail.

Hazel was a very good cook and there are few in the extended family who have not enojoyed Walter and Hazel's loving and gracious hospitality. The warmth and kindness we have all felt at their hands, lingers with us all as very lovely experiences in our lifes.

Besides all the sweet hospitality -- I don't suppose anyone could possibly count all the numberless deeds of service to others. All their lives they have helped others. Hundreds have benefitted by their benevolence. Stella, Hazel's sister, said, "Hazel didn't have to try to be kind -- she was just naturally kind." Others' needs were her concern.

In turn Hazel and Walter have enjoyed love and kindness from their children as they have grown older. Their children honored them in 1973 with a 50th wedding anniversary party. All of their descendants were there except one who was serving a mission.

Just last week, in a letter, Hazel told of making bread, helping gather wood, quilting. She was busy and active to the end, and she received an expressed heart's desire -- not to become sick and dependent on others.

Hazel is survived by Walter whom she loved very much, "a wonderful husband who has always been good to me." She was mother to eight, grandmother to fifty, great-grandmother to thirty-seven. She was so proud of them all.

A talented, dear, and special lady has been called home. Oh, that we all were as prepared to go as Hazel! We will miss her!