Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Obituary ~ Hazel M. (Weissenburger) Dowden
February 20, 1910 ~ December 08, 2013

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
December 11, 2013

CLEAR LAKE -- Hazel M. Dowden, 103, of Clear Lake, died Sunday, December 8, 2013, at the Good Shepherd Health Center.

Hazel was born February 20, 1910, in Laurel, Iowa, to and William and Dora Weissenburger.

She often reminisced about her childhood days in Laurel – her one room school house, her basketball days, and her courtship with the love of her life, Burt Dowden.

Hazel and Burt were married in Laurel in 1933, lived in Portland, Oregon, during the war, and later returned to Marshalltown where they lived until 1955 when they moved to Clear Lake.

Hazel was active in the United Methodist Church and circle groups for many years.

She loved to travel with family, was a voracious reader, an ornithology buff, a consummate animal lover and sports enthusiast. She especially loved the Iowa Basketball Hawkeyes and even followed their arch rival Wisconsin Badgers, in deference to her son Jerry and daughter-in-law Jan who live in Madison, Wisconsin. She was always passionate about her bridge club and treasured time spent with her many loyal friends and relatives.

The family wishes to extend their sincere appreciation to Hazel’s many phenomenal care givers through the years.

She adored the Apple Valley Assisted Living staff, especially nurse Vicki, as well as the special friends she developed there during the past ten years.

In her final days, the Good Shepherd Health Center and Hospice of North Iowa partnership provided excellent care and comfort.

A special thanks goes to Hazel’s adoring Clear Lake, Mason City, Marshalltown, and Laurel area friends and relatives who were always there for her. She often spoke of her good fortune to have such a wonderful support system.

Hazel was preceded in death by her parents and loving husband Burt.

Hazel is survived by her son Jerry (Jan) Dowden of Madison, Wisconsin, as well as many thoughtful relatives including the Charles Corty and Vajgrt families.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Apple Valley Assisted Living, where a fund has been established in her name, or to Hospice of North Iowa.

A commemorative bench and plaque will be dedicated in the spring of 2014 in the Apple Valley Assisted Living outdoor gardens.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.

Arrangements, Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City, Iowa 50401, 641-423-0924, www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.

~ ~ ~ ~

From The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
February 20, 2010

Hazel Dowden, 100 Years Old

Hazel Dowden’s life has spanned 18 presidents from William Howard Taft to Barack Obama.

SCHOOL DAYS Hazel attended a one room country school in Laurel, Iowa. Students… learned from one another across grade levels using their individual “text book” slates; learned TEAM WORK as they shared custodial tasks from out house detail to bucket brigade duty back and forth to neighbor’s pumps; played ageless recess games including Musical Chairs and Drop the Handkerchief; engaged in basic strength training as they dragged buckets of coal from the school coal shed; spent hours memorizing facts, songs like “I’m from I-O-WAY” and poetry. When Hazel began high school, she and her friends loved to play basketball. These “hoopsters” helped jump start an Iowa tradition; teams like Hazel’s paved the way for Iowa to become a “hotbed” for girl’s basketball; amazing for a pre Title IX class of only 16.

MESSY TRANSIT Traveling to Grandma’s house was never easy…even prior to todays soaring gas prices and airport security hassles.

In the early 1900’s, horse and buggy travel was difficult and expensive, especially in winter when bundling up in buffalo robes in horse-drawn bobsleds was the means of transportation.

Even after 1913 when cheaper automobiles became available, hassles remained with rutted and muddy roads in warm months and drifted and impassable roads during winter months.

Hazel treasures her 1915 adventure to the San Francisco World’s Fair on the Union Pacific Railroad, especially the ostrich cart rides.

WE ARE WHAT WE EAT Hazel’s father was the local grocer and SLOW FOOD was the only food. Hazel remembers the beginning of “fast-food” in 1938 when the first drive-thru’s featured 15 cent hamburgers. In the 50’s TV dinners made it easy for families to catch “I Love Lucy” and “The Ed Sullivan Show”. How ironic that slow food reappeared on chic restaurant menus 100 years later.

GETTING “CONNECTED” During Hazel’s childhood, telephone service was only available with shared “party lines”; opportunities to listen in meant some news traveled fast. She has witnessed the technology explosion over the years - the shift to hand crank phones, to dial phones, to wireless, to cell phones, to Twitter and text messaging.

HANGING OUT Popular summer pass times changed over the years. In the 1900’s, Hazel and her friends headed for the ole’ swimming hole or went to the local ice cream parlor where a cone was only 5 cents.

Later destinations included country fairs, thrill rides on the Clear Lake roller coaster, Lady of the Lake Cruises and hanging out at Corner Drug.

During the Roaring 20’s, Hazel’s favorite dance moves were the Charleston and the Indiana Hop.

CHORES WITH A PAST Hazel remembers a time when “doing the chores” was a real work-out. Kids had to beat rugs hung over a clothesline, scrub dishes in the sink, mow the grass with a rotary push mower and move snow with a shovel.

What A Difference A 100 Years Makes!!

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016



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