James Stephen Hazlett

Born: February 27, 1940
Died: March 14, 2006

James Stephen Hazlett was born in Kansas City, Missouri, son of James Arthur and Mary Quinn Pope Hazlett. He prepared for Yale at Paseo High School in Kansas City, graduating as the class salutatorian. His father was Superintendent of Schools in Kansas City and Steve was to follow his father into a career in education.

At Yale he was affiliated with Jonathan Edwards College and participated in the J.E. Debate Club. He was a member of the Yale Political Union and the Wesley Foundation. Steve married his high school sweetheart Judith (Judi) Welker in August 1961 and was a non-resident of J.E. his senior year.

Steve was a History Major, specializing in Southeast Asia Studies. He spent his junior year in Paris as a member of the Sweet Briar Junior Year Abroad Program. After graduation Steve received his Masters in Arts in Education degree from Harvard in 1963. He then taught high school history in North Kansas City schools from 1963 to 1965. In 1968 he was awarded his Ph.D. degree in History of Education and Educational Administration from the University of Chicago where he remained to serve as an assistant professor of education for 2 years.

During his lifetime Steve had an illustrious career in higher education. He was a professor of educational administration at the University of Texas at Austin from 1971 to 1980. In 1973 he was awarded a fellowship to study in Paris at the Sorbonne. From 1980 to 1983 he was Associate Dean of the College of Education at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. In 1983 he was appointed Dean of the School of Education at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, a position he held until 1990. From 1990 to 1997 he was Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where he retired as a Professor of Education.

The official history of the College of Education at Indiana State describes him during his tenure as Dean "as a stimulating, perceptive, provocative and congenial colleague. Not only was his leadership essential to development and change but he also willingly accepted a progressively greater responsibility in shaping the entire institution."

He was a founding member of the Society for the Study of Curriculum History in April 1977 at Columbia University Teachers College. He authored numerous reports, academic section publications and research articles. In 1989 his essay entitled "Education Professors: The Centennial of an Identify Crisis" was published by the State University of New York Teacher Preparation and Development series as a chapter in "The Professors of Teaching." He was one of 9 scholars contributing to what SUNY characterized as a "frank and candid expose ... of what must ... be done ... for professors of education to be accepted and respected within the academy and the teaching profession."

Steve's first marriage to Judith ended in divorce. They had two children, Timothy Daniel Hazlett and Ellen Hazlett Helwig.

Classmate Phillip Stewart describes Steve as "a serious man with a great sense of humor and a very distinctive personality. He was fanatical about classical music and loved to laugh."

His first wife Judith wrote that he had "a hunger for knowledge and a thirst for classical music. He was always reading a book while listening to favorite symphonies from his extensive music collection. He dreamed of becoming a conductor and even had his own baton which he used as he listened. He loved and admired the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and attended their concerts regularly. His concert forays always included dinner at The Berghoff Restaurant and shopping at Marshall Field's and Tower Records with a stop at the Art Institute. An avowed Francophile, he spoke and read French fluently and made many trips back to Paris."

Steve was also a train and railroad memorabilia enthusiast and collected railroad calendars.

After his divorce he met and married Lisa Spiegel, a professor of education at the University of South Dakota, on August 16, 2000. They resided in Vermillion and she survives him. In addition to his widow, he is survived by his son Timothy and his wife Cheryl of Lee's Summit, Missouri, and his daughter Ellen Helwig and her husband Jeff of Gurnee, Illinois. He was also survived by 4 grandchildren, Jack and Ethan Hazlett and Henry and Eileen Helwig, his aunt Annalou Pope Parker and her husband Jack of Houston, his cousin Grady Pope of Dallas and many other relatives. His parents predeceased him as did an infant brother Daniel Arthur Hazlett.

His widow Lisa and his first wife Judith have become friends. Lisa joined in Judith's description of Steve as "really a very simple man who enjoyed nothing more that a quiet evening at home with family and a good cup of espresso, dark beer and green and black olives." He was, Judith said, "a gentle man of faith who had read the Bible from cover to cover many times. Trapped in a body ravaged by diabetes and cancer he bravely and quietly played the hand fate had dealt him until the end."

Lisa added that "despite his illnesses in the last years he never complained, he was always so kind. He reveled," she continued, "in his retirement, enjoying his daily espressos, his classical music watching DVDs, reading and napping. Although he faced illness, he did so with dignity. He and I felt blessed by our time together."

Steve died at home in Vermillion surrounded by family. He was buried in Forest City Cemetery, Forest City, Missouri, a rural cemetery where Lisa's family is buried and where, she observed, the sounds Steve had loved of freight trains passing in the distance are regularly heard.

The family requested that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.