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Hazel McRae

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Hazel Elizabeth Ann was welcomed into the world by parents Robert and Florence (Emery) McNabb on October 25, 1942, in Owen Sound. Hazel was an only child, and they lived in East Linton. When Hazel was only eight, her mother passed away, so she moved in with her aunt Ada Mills, and then she and her father moved to Tara. Hazel attended Tara Public School and then continued on to Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute (OSCVI).

While in school, Hazel was working at an ice cream shop in Port Elgin and a young man by the name of John “Allan” McRae was a regular customer. He picked her up after work one day to drive her home, and as they say, the rest is history! Hazel and Allan were married on June 30, 1962 at the Tara United Church, with a reception to follow at the Downtowner in Owen Sound. Hazel started taking nursing in school, but shortly after was pregnant. As newlyweds, they lived with Allan’s parents for the first few years. They welcomed their first child Robert in December 1962, followed by John in 1964. When John was only two months old, they moved into Dobbinton, where they welcomed the rest of their family; Roger in 1965, Jo-Anne in 1968, Heather in 1970, and Kathleen in 1971. It is safe to say Hazel had her hands full!

Hazel was a very hands-on mother and an amazing seamstress. She made all of the children’s clothing by hand, except for their blue jeans. Hazel made sure to teach the children the value of hard work. She had a list of chores on the wall and delegated chores to each child to complete. Hazel planted a large vegetable garden to feed her family. She planted so many potatoes that when she dug them up at the end of the summer, they lasted until the spring. That’s a lot of potatoes! She also had close to one thousand jars of preserves ready in the cellar! While the children were in school, she offered childcare and seamstress services, babysitting for the Clements family, and sewing clothing for others to bring in extra income.

In 1984, Hazel went back to school and attended Georgian College in Owen Sound for Business Administration Accounting for three years. It was also around this time that she received her driver’s license. After graduating, Hazel began working for Sears Canada in Owen Sound as a seamstress, retiring in 2010.

Hazel was a woman of many talents. Not only did she excel at sewing, she was also great at knitting, quilting, and crocheting, which were all self-taught skills. She sold her knitted blankets, and one was even shown in the Chatelaine Magazine! Hazel joined the knitting club at the Tara United Church, and loved attending with people who shared the same interest as her. She would knit extra hats and mitts and send them to northern Ontario to be given to anyone in need. She was also a great gardener. Hazel took a lot of pride in her flowerbeds, and how her home was presented. Hazel was known by family for her cooking as she made many favourites such as poor man’s pudding, raisin pie, and icicle pickles to name a few. In the fall every year there were Christmas goodies prepared and hidden in the freezer so the kids wouldn’t get at it before Christmas. However, they would still find the baking and sneak some. If you ask them, they will tell you it was a good thing that they did take some, because by the time Hazel got to share her treats, they were stale! Hazel enjoyed Canadian Club whiskey with water, and when she was sick, she used it to make a hot toddy. This may have been shared with an ailing child or two! She also enjoyed a pot of black tea. Hazel delighted in watching the Masked Singer, Antique Road Show, and many soap operas.

Hazel didn’t travel much, however, her trips to Daytona, Nashville and the East Coast were highlights for her. Although when Allan was driving, they didn’t stop often so she didn’t get to see as many points of interest as she would have liked! Although she didn’t have her driver’s license until she was 48, she enjoyed going for gravel runs with the boys’ friends. The kicker was that the boys were never with her. Their friends would show up, she would hop in the back, and they would go on a tour, even though she didn’t drink. She just loved going along for the ride!

Hazel worked hard and was always concerned about everyone but herself. She was the matriarch of the family and was a rock for them all. What she said went on all matters. Hazel passed away at Summit Place, Owen Sound on Thursday, October 12, 2023, in her 81st year.

Loving mother of John (Valerie) of Innisfil, Roger of Tara, Jo-Anne McRae of Waterloo, Heather (Randy) Fukushima of Dryden and Kathleen McRae of Toronto. She will be forever cherished by her eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Hazel was predeceased by her husband John “Allan”, her son Robert, and her parents Robert and Florence (Emery) McNabb.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Sunday, October 22, 2023, from 2 – 4 p.m., and on Monday, October 23, 2023, from 1 p.m. until the time of the funeral service at 2 p.m. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Arthritis Society Canada would be appreciated by the family as expressions of sympathy.

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