This Oct. 2 marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of Hazel A. Wood (Morden), formerly of High Prairie.
Although maybe best known as the wife of the late Dr. J.B. Wood, she was a woman in her own right and contributed much to the town and surrounding district throughout her life.
Hazel was born in Fort Vermillion, AB on April 20, 1917, daughter of a trader, Arthur Morden and mother Maria Lizotte, with an older brother, five younger sisters and a younger brother. She attended Alberta Collage in Edmonton, graduating with a diploma in stenography.
Hazel started a job at the Wood clinic in High Prairie around 1939.
Hazel and J.B. Wood married and together served the community while raising their family. She took a correspondence course to be certified as a kindergarten teacher in the early 1950s when no one knew what kindergarten was all about. There were no preschool programs back then.
Hazel was instrumental in starting and directing the High Prairie Homemaker Service, set up to help families whose wife and mother was, for health reasons, unable to support their own family day to day. The homemakers would go into the home and perform the daily chores of the mother until she was able to recover.
In conjunction with this service she helped form the High Prairie clothing bank which collected donations of clothing for resale and donating to needy families. The clothing bank raised some money to help fund the homemaker program.
The Second Wind was later set up to carry on this program and today there are other programs doing similar service being run by like-minded community volunteers.
Hazel was elected one of the first women to serve on town council in the 1960s and was one of several responsible for bringing the Preventive Social Services program to High Prairie.
Forty years have passed quickly but there are still many whom will remember Hazel’s good nature, sense of humour and compassion. She did, however, call a spade a spade if you crossed her.
Having thought of her memories the past month has made me aware of the equally good community minded people, women and men, that this district has lost in the past year. We should remember to appreciate those who strive to make our lives better and do it while we can still tell them in person.
- submitted by Rodney Wood
Shown on this page are 3 articles in South Peace News featuring Hazel Wood.