Hazel Jeanne BakerFebruary 25, 1932 ~ December 30, 2020 (age 88)
Hazel Jeanne Baker, nee Hiser, age 88, of Fairview Heights, IL, born on February 25, 1932, in East St. Louis, IL, died on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at St. Paul’s Senior Center, Belleville, IL.
Hazel was a force of nature who exuberantly embraced life. She treated everyone with respect and dignity and taught her children and their children to love others equally and unconditionally. Her orbit was huge; she welcomed strangers as friends, and friends became part of her big family.
Hazel was modest, preferring to revel in others’ successes. She was tough as nails, especially in the face of unbearable loss, always urging people on with her trademark saying, “chin up.” Her faith in God and family was unwavering.
Hazel loved everything God created for our enjoyment on earth. She fished, hiked, swam, ran through fields, camped, and watched the day unfold and the sun set with glee. She was an accomplished athlete, drafted in her youth to play semi-pro women’s softball, and climbing the highest mountain in Tennessee at age 70. Yet her biggest joy came from cheering on her children, grandchildren, her nieces, nephews, and their friends in their athletic endeavors. She was the most vocal supporter at games. She knew the rules and made sure the referees and umpires did too. She was an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan.
She was the consummate community and St. Albert the Great and Holy Trinity parish volunteer and a charter member of the Fairview Heights Woman’s Club. She always had time for someone in need of a hug, and was a great listener, always without judgment.
She was preceded in death by her first husband, David Evan Turner; her second husband, John E. Baker III; her parents, Eugene, “Judge” and Hazel, nee Hesse, Hiser; her daughter, Kathy Baker; her sister and brother-in-law, Aunt Chicken and Uncle Charlie; her aunt, Aunt Ducky, and sister-in-law, Joyce Hiser.
She is survived by her children, Mary Beth Turner; Carol Turner (Marshall Miller), Peggy (Clete) Hilmes, Bonnie Amos, John E. (Tammy) Baker IV; Jeanne (Jimmy) Renfro; Jayne (Trent) Hauser, and Wendy (Kirk) Herweck; her grandchildren, David (Sheri) Selph, Christine (Matt) Bruemmer, Jeanne (Jodie) Fithian, David (Kim) Helms, Grey (Jane) Chatham, Claire Chatham (Nick Potts), Teddy (Jennifer) Reaka, Toby (Jennifer) Reaka, Tabitha Mays, Danial Amos, Jana (Andy) Calvin, Courtney (Chuck) Kouchnerkavich, Josh Albertina, Justin Albertina, Julie (Amy) Baiser, Jessi Hauser, Evan Hauser, Jacob Renfro, Jaynie Renfro, Joey Renfro, Abigail (Paul) LaRose, Kirk Herweck Jr., and Frank Gibilterra; 27 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great grandchildren; her siblings, Bud Hiser and Edward (Marvin) Hiser; and a host of extended family and friends.
Memorials may be made to Holy Trinity Building Fund. Hazel would like to ask everyone to pass along a smile and a hug, when we are able, to someone who needs a boost.
Private family services will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery, Fairview Heights, IL, with Father James Long officiating.