10 May 1948 – 14 September 1998
7 November 1998
Dear Rob, Josh, Zoë and Pat,
It’s taken a long time to write to you to say how deeply sorry we are that Hazel has died. Writing it down is like finally acknowledging that it really has happened and that Hazel is no longer there in Balmain.
She fought such a long and courageous battle. She was very stoic, very brave and seemed to keep her wonderful, zany humour all the way through.
She was very special to me because, although we didn’t see much of each other, we went back to 1966! I remember her at Southampton, tall and rangy with a free spirit. I always think of her wearing her University scarf, for some reason. We went to evening classes together in the early ’70s — "Appreciation of Antiques." She had just come to London and had just found herself a flat. I remember she answered an ad from the Evening Standard for "a happy person" to fill the vacancy. She went along to be interviewed wearing a hat that said "Hi! I’m Happy Hazel" on it, and, of course, got the spot. It was quite a shock when she announced that she was going to Australia for £10!
I remember so many things about her — her talking about her father when he died, her being at our wedding (she was my only English friend present), her saying that she’d probably have had 10 children if she’d started earlier (she loved it so much!) and her never forgetting anything we ever discussed (well, it seemed like that!). She will be missed for the generous, sensitive and kind person that she was. I think of her almost every day and think how much you must all miss her.
We send you our deepest sympathies and must say how wonderfully and greatly she was supported by you all, with so much love that you gave. It must take so much strength, courage and giving from you to be such a source of support, over such a long period of time.
Well, I know it’s difficult, but we hope you will keep in touch. We get news of you, of course, through Judy and Tony, from time to time. If ever there is anything that we can do for you, please let us know.
With much love to you all from
Sheila, Mike, Nicholas & Sarah
Sheila was a friend of Hazel’s. (There is a tape of Hazel on the phone to Sheila during Hazel's taping her life story, in early September 1998.)
Sheila died in 2009 from breast cancer, first diagnosed in 1994; her secondary cancer was diagnosed in 2004.
She had been born only a few months before Hazel, also in England. Both had been undergrads at Soton.
Download an MP3 of her funeral at St. Columb's, Hawthorn, on June 4, 2009, Here.