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A Life Beautifully Lived

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Hazel Hall at the Kinderhaven Festival of Trees with friends Dr. Pamela Bird, Mary Walter and Susie Bowman Hazel Hall at the Kinderhaven Festival of Trees with friends Dr. Pamela Bird, Mary Walter and Susie Bowman

Remembrances of Hazel Hall

When Hazel Hall first arrived in Sandpoint on Jan. 3, 1932, she discovered a bustling logging town. When she departed Sandpoint on the wings of angels on Aug. 14, 2009, she left behind a community that has become well-known as one of “America’s 100 Best Arts Towns”. A coincidence? Hardly.


Hazel’s well-lived life is celebrated by hundreds of us who benefited from the blessing of spending time with her. I remember Hazel from as soon as I can remember anything. She was a dear friend of my parents, a sorority sister of my Mother’s, and one of those very special grown-ups who paid loving attention to us “young-uns.”


Hazel possessed the gifts of being able to encourage and also to inspire. For my friends and me, that meant praising our fledgling efforts in creativity, which in retrospect was probably not an easy thing to do. Then she worked to create opportunities for us to experience some of the best professional arts experiences available.
Exposure to great art (the kind that gives you goosebumps, thrills your very soul, makes you grin like an idiot, makes you cry, excites your passions, makes you want to be a better person  is life-changing. And, of course, that’s only the beginning of what art can do to you. Hazel always knew that.
Marilyn Sabella

Hazel Hall epitomized community to me, and I wanted to interview her about that and write a story about her life and the creation of Sandpoint as an “arts town.” She refused to let me do it. “But Hazel Hall isn’t anybody,” she said modestly though in true Hazel fashion, she didn’t end there. Instead, she took it upon herself to write the story she thought I should print, which appeared in four parts beginning in June of 2003.

“This is going to be a huge story,” she told me, and it was, as Hazel tracked down every former gallery owner in Sandpoint, and all those current at the time, to tell their story. (You can read them on our website, starting with “Two Hazels with a ‘Bea’ in their Bonnets for Art.”).


I was blessed that Hazel took me, like so many others, under her wing and shared herself unstintingly as I continued the never-ending work of making the River Journal a true, community publication. Where I’ve succeeded, you can give her much of the credit. Trish Gannon

“Those who love deeply never grow old: they may die of old age, but they die young”. Sir Arthur Wing Pinero


It was the way she loved. Whether the relationship was as Hazel-mom, a dear friend, a neighbor or as the unofficial ambassador of Sandpoint, she demonstrated that “God is Love” wasn’t just a concept, it was a way of life. Everyone she met was special in her eyes. You walked away from an encounter with Hazel always feeling the best about yourself. And even when our best fell short we were nothing less than perfect in her eyes. She loved unconditionally, was all forgiving, and was ever so kind and patient.


The best part is we all got a priceless inheritance from her. She didn’t pass on trinkets she gave us a treasure trove!


It was sayings and/or practices that she had.


The first one she was well known for:
1. Attitude and gratitude (Look for the good and praise it.) She could see positive in anything.
2. Stay curious -(this probably is what kept her so young) expose yourself to learning—attend everything
3. Always plant flowers—it’s God’s way of showing love
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously- (she was never stressed)
5. Never complain, never explain. “I’m just no count” was all she’d say about her health.
6. Take a walk every day
7. Write notes to your friends. She acknowledged every kindness.
8. And this last one was so important to Hazel because her light shone, not by her or of her but through her—She meditated. She meditated and prayed faithfully every day. The reason Hazel took herself so lightly is that she was so firmly rooted with Spirit. She talked to Christ every day, faithfully met in her small study group and could vision nothing but Him in front of her.


She never once gave a sermon. But she was the best preacher we ever witnessed
Hazel single-handedly lit up a town. The best part is she showed us how it’s done. We now know what it sounds like, feels like and behaves like. Now that we know better we get to be better—and we are for having known her. Hazel’s light didn’t dim with her passing, it ignited a blaze! Jeanelle Shields.

“Someday after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will discover fire” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Like with so many others, Hazel was an inspiration to me. Just being around her was comforting, healing, nurturing and FUN!!! Hazel was very firm in her beliefs and by spending time with her I felt closer to greatness. 


Hazel and I shared the same birth date, so each year we would both try to be the first one to call the other. She usually won.


In July I was having dinner with Hazel and she told me her grandkids were coming to visit and then she would be ready to meet God. The woman knew what she wanted.


What a blessing it has been to get to know Hazel. I will always cherish my memories of her.
Barb Perusse

Hazel Hall, upbeat, inspirational, much-revered Woman of Wisdom and wife of Sandpoint’s legendary photographer Ross Hall, died at noon Aug. 14, 2009. She was 96. Hazel’s son Dann is one of my classmates.


I’ve known Hazel most of my life, not only as Dann’s mom, but also as a woman who never wasted a minute of precious life.


Sandpoint lost a gem.


Marianne Love (at www.slightdetour.com)

Knowing Hazel Hall was a gift. Reading about her life has been very inspirational as many of her friends and family have expressed their beautiful thoughts of this gracious lady.  Her many accomplishments and contributions in this community over her 96 years are well known. We can all learn from her “attitude and gratitude” philosophy of life. 


I was privileged to have grown up in Sandpoint and to know the family for over 70 years. Over the years I appreciated her support of so many community activities, especially the arts and classical music. She was always thoughtful about her point of view and never judgemental. Her kind and jolly affection for everyone, including strangers,  was admirable. Living her later years has been an enlightening experience—what an amazing role model for growing old. Clever and funny, she always brought a smile to people around her. Hazel Hall was a woman of faith, integrity and wisdom. Her memory and the lessons of life will live on and on and on.
Joanne Kelly

Hazel was always ready for a new adventure and welcomed a new challenge. I don’t know anyone who truly didn’t love talking with her. All her stories were priceless.


Her  favorite color was blue.


Her  favorite flower  was a rose (Peachy-Pink in color).


Her favorite wine was White Zinfindel.


Her favorite book was the Bible.


Her one and only true love, Ross Hall.


Hazel loved to dance. She loved to read She loved to dress up in pretty dresses and have dinner with friends using only the fine china. She told me once, as a child she loved to ride her horse to school. Then her dad bought a car. From that point on she drove to school. She was 12. Every moment with Hazel was a memory in the making.


The one thing Hazel always looked forward to was being with Ross. She is with him again.


Adapted from “Hazel Hall, That’s All,” presented on Hazel’s 95th birthday, which by proclamation the city of Sandpoint re-named “Hazel Hall Day.”

Read more about Hazel in Sandy Compton’s “A Scenic Route” here.

Read her obituary here.

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Author info

Landon Otis

Tagged as:

Marianne Love, Joanne Kelly, Barb Perusse, Hazel Hall, Marilyn Sabella, Jeanelle Shields, Hazel Hall Day

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