Hazel Mary Mitchell
passed away peacefully on Dec 17, 2012, at Penticton Regional Hospital. Hazel was born November 17th, 1928 at Leask, Saskatchewan, to Harold and Mae Johnson. Her brother Jerry followed her into the world 13 months later. They grew up in a rugged and spartan frontier environment, but flourished none-the-less through family, friends and a true pioneering spirit. Hazel attended 3 area schools: Debden, Rabbit Ridge and Makwa.
Harold left the family when Hazel and Jerry were quite young – it was to be a long separation between father and children; however, reconciliation and reunion came 3 years before his passing at age 97 in Courtenay, B.C. After Harold left, Mae met and initially cooked for and was a farm helper to Robert Bathgate (who became known to Hazel’s children as ‘Uncle Bob’). They eventually moved together to Cecil Lake, 15 miles northeast of Fort St. John, where they lived on a farm. By this time, Hazel and Jerry had both moved away from home and were forging their own lives.
In her mid-twenties, Hazel worked for a time as a cook in the tiny community of Dog Creek, west of Williams Lake. There she met Bill Mitchell, who worked on the local airport for the Department of Transport. About a year later, they married in the Fort St. James community hall. Bill’s career took the family to Sandspit, Prince George, Terrace and Penticton.
While in Prince George, Lane was born in 1955, followed by Russell in 1957. A year later, the family moved to Terrace, where in 1960, Murray came into the world. Terrace would prove to be where the Mitchell family would lay down its deepest roots. Hazel worked as a homemaker until the boys were all of school age and then she was employed at Thornhill Elementary school as the school secretary, a job that she very much enjoyed.
Upon retirement, Bill and Hazel moved and settled in Chilliwack in 1978. By this time, the boys had moved out to lead their own lives, though the family would come together numerous times over the years, the last only hours before Hazel’s passing. Chilliwack would prove to be their home of longest duration and their life in this community was full with family, friends, leisure and travel. For much of their time in Chilliwack, Hazel’s brother Jerry and his wife, Ollie, lived near them and were frequent companions.
Over the years, oldest son Lane met and married Doris; they raised two boys, now with families of their own. Russell met and married Wendy; they are raising a beautiful daughter. Murray has chosen the bachelor’s life.
Hazel and Bill moved to Summerland in 2009 to be near family. This was a great move, as it afforded them support and care when it was most needed. Hazel was re-introduced to her faith and accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour.
Mom has left this earth and her soul is now with God, but her spirit will always remain with us. No husband could have had a better wife; no children a better mother. Her simple, unassuming and quiet ways were appreciated by all who knew her and those closest to her were amazed by her indomitable spirit in the face of difficulties and recent struggles with her health. She leaves a diverse legacy of family to live by her example: her husband of 58 years, Bill; 3 sons Lane (Doris) of Summerland; Russell (Wendy) of Burnaby; and Murray of Abbotsford; 2 grandsons Jared, (Tiffany) and Ryan (Krista); a grand-daughter (Kaylee); 5 great-grandchildren (Austin, Nikaela, Shyla, Mila and Jovie); brother Jerry (Ollie) Johnson of Princeton.
Our family would like to thank the staff at Summerland Seniors Village for their kindness and care during the past 3 years. A memorial service will be held there (at the Seniors Village) on Sunday, Jan 27th at 2 pm with Pastor Larry Schram from Summerland Baptist Church.