Hazel Straight celebrated her 100th birthday June 11 at Heritage Commons in Ticonderoga. She lived in Port Henry before moving to Ti.
Hazel Straight doesn’t understand all the fuss.
“I don’t know who cares about this,” Hazel said the day after her 100th birthday at Heritage Commons in Ticonderoga. “It’s no big deal.”
“She a remarkable woman,” said Nancy Sheldon, Hazel’s daughter. “It’s funny, we’d always said she was tough. And when she goes to the doctor, he always says she’s tough. I guess that’s the word. She’s tough.
“She’s smart, too,” Nancy added. “She remembers everything. Sometimes I have to call her when I can’t remember things.”
Hazel was born June 11, 1913. She grew up in Richford, Vt. As a young woman she moved to New Hampshire to take a job in a photography studio.
Eventually she found her way to Elizabethtown, where she met her husband Leo Cole. The couple had two daughters, Jean and Beverly, before Leo died in a hunting accident at age 29.
“I don’t like to talk about that,” Hazel said. “It was a sad time.”
Hazel then met Charles Straight. They married and moved to a home on Prospect Avenue in Port Henry. The couple had two daughters, Nancy and Cheryl.
They raised their family with Charles working in mines for Republic Steel and Hazel taking care of the four girls.
Charles died in 1989. The couple was married nearly 50 years. Hazel then moved to Lord Howe Estates in Ticonderoga. She lived on her own in an apartment there until a recent bout with pneumonia. She is now recovering at Heritage Commons, but plans to get back to her home soon.
“I really want to get back to my apartment,” she said. “It’s nice here, but I can’t wait to get home.”
Hazel has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the nuclear age, the moon landing and much more.
“A lot of ups and downs,” she said. “I guess that’s life.”
She recalled the hardships of food rationing during World War II.
“You needed a coupon just to buy a can of beans,” she said. “We had big gardens.”
Hazel didn’t plan on becoming 100 years old.
“I never thought much about it,” she said. “Then I started thinking that maybe I shouldn’t live that long. A lot of friends and family are gone.”
Hazel credits her longevity to good habits and good genes. She doesn’t smoke or drink. Her mother lived to age 92. Her sisters lived well into their 90s.
She doesn’t have many plans for the future, buts still enjoys sewing and crocheting.
Hazel marked her 100th birthday with a small party that included family and friends.
“It was a nice day,” she said. “My daughter (Nancy) was here and some friends.”
Nancy said a bigger celebration will be held when Hazel gets back to her apartment.