Hazel Graeber was born in Ephrata, the youngest of six children of Maurice D. and Clara Mae (Melberg) Catlow. She grew up in Spokane and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in June, 1941. Hazel met her first husband, Edwin, through her brother, Lloyd, as the two men were buddies in the Marine Corp. during World War II.
After writing many letters back and forth while he was interned in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp, Edwin came to Spokane. He and Hazel were married on Feb. 17, 1946 and had two children, Steven Douglas and Kimberly Maureen. They divorced in 1970.
Hazel worked as an administrative assistant for Exxon Co., USA, from 1955 until her retirement in 1973. On Sept. 23, 1972, she married Albert Graeber, whom she met square dancing. Hazel was a member of the Miss â€˜N Links square dance club in Colville, and the Hits and Misses and Whirlaways square dance clubs in Spokane.
Following her retirement from Exxon, Hazel and Albert moved fulltime to his ranch at Laurier, where Hazel drove a school bus and served as the school secretary for the Orient School District from 1979 to 1987. Following Albertâ€™s death in 1986, Hazel moved back to Spokane in April 1987.
Hazel loved to fish, especially in Alaska where she often went to visit family. She was also an avid card player, both with her friends and with her grandchildren â€“ pinochle and Spite & Malice were favorites.
Hazel is survived by her children, Steve (Jessie) Wuerst and Kim West in Spokane; and stepchildren Neal Graeber, Carl Graeber, Roy Graeber, Laurier; Dale Graeber, Colville; and Anne Gillis (Melvin) Anchorage, Alaska; 14 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents and by her siblings Lorena Frost and Wilma Johnson, Harlie, Maurice and Lloyd Catlow.
Everyone who met Hazel quickly grew to love her. She always had a bright smile and a twinkle in her eye. She loved her family with all her heart, each and every one of them. We are comforted by knowing that Hazel is with her Lord, but we will miss her dearly.
A Memorial Service to celebrate Hazelâ€™s life will be held on Nov. 19, 2011, at 2 p.m. at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church, 4102 South Crestline, Spokane, Wash.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Ronald McDonald House, 1015 West Fifth Avenue, Spokane, WA 99204-3002.
Heritage Funeral Home in Spokane is in charge of arrangements.