Hazel Lois Allen (Stevens) Burnett was born Feb. 24, 1926, in the Pine Creek area of Okanogan County, to James and Elizabeth Allen whose parents homesteaded in Okanogan County in 1905. They came from Austria. She was raised in the Pine Creek area with many family members, including her siblings, Grover, Frank, Elaine, Pearl, and Harold, who passed at age five.
Hazel peacefully made her way from this earth on Dec. 13, 2013.
Hazel graduated from Omak High School in 1943, and moved to Portland, Ore., and then San Francisco, Calif., where she worked for Fred Meyer Drug, in some of the first stores established. She later moved back to Omak, where she worked for Citizen State Bank.
In 1945, she married Cal Stevens and had three children, Sherrill, Nancy, and Kelly. The couple later parted ways, but Hazel remained in Omak.
In 1967, she worked for Okanogan Community Action Council as a fiscal officer and executive secretary, becoming executive director in 1969.
As executive director of Community Action Council, Hazel was responsible for the initiation and implementation of six county senior citizen centers, senior nutrition, and transportation, senior apartment housing, farmers’ markets, tribal county and alcohol programs, Headstart, water and sewer systems, including the Riverside water system, and seven county home health care programs. Hazel was instrumental in the development of the Western theme that is now a tourist attraction in Winthrop. She often raised funds for these services, and was always proud of the many staff and volunteer workers whose hard work and dedication was responsible for so many valuable county programs. She retired as executive director of CAP in 1981.
However, Hazel went on to serve as chairman of the Omak Hospital Board and was very active in that position.
She worked diligently to establish Wenatchee Valley College in the county, supporting the college in many aspects and even teaching a class when she was 86. She was especially proud of the nursing program and was happy to visit the nurses at Mid-Valley Hospital who got their start through the program. She was one of the founding members of the Board of WVC, earning the Emeritus Award in 1996 for her exemplary service.
She received many awards throughout her career, including awards from the Governor’s Office, Washington Volunteer of the Year in 1984, as well as Woman of the Year in 2004 by the Regional Soroptimist Club.
Hazel was always active in the community and had many peers and friends she dedicated her time and resources to. This fall she met with Governor Inslee, a long-time friend, to discuss ideas for the community. Her devotion to helping others was evident until the end of her life.
In 1974, she married Howard Burnett, the Okanogan Postmaster, and a long-time area rancher. She spent many years on their ranch south of Malott, assisting with the many responsibilities required to run a ranching business.
In 1999, Hazel moved to Okanogan with Howard, and sold their ranch to their grandson, Christopher Freel, wife, Kimberly, and family. Hazel then assisted the Precht-Harrison-Nearents Chapel staff until she retired due to health.
Hazel is survived by her husband, Howard; children, Sherrill Tyler and her husband, Galen, of La Conner, Wash., Nancy Phillips, and her husband, Steve, of Malott, Wash., Kelly Stevens, and his wife, Joy, of Mukileto, Wash., and Debra Wilson, and her husband, Greg, of Spokane, Wash.; Nancy Burnett, daughter-in-law, of Redmond, Wash.; plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Christopher Freel and wife, Kimberly, and their four children, Tawnia Knox-Folmann, husband, Troels, and their three daughters, Scott Knox, wife, Robie, and their daughter; Matt Phillips, wife, Lisa and their three children, Dr. Brian Artman, wife, Amy, and their three children, Aaron Artman, wife, Leslie, and three children, Heidi Ortiz, husband, Mike, and their four children, Bryce Stevens, wife, Julie, and two boys; Inga Darrow, husband, Brett, and their two boys; Carly Twiggs, husband, Brian, and their daughter; Daniel Burnett, Tyler Wilson, Cassandra Wilson, Alexandra Wilson, Samantha Victor, and husband, Daniel; as well as nieces and nephews, all of whom loved her dearly.
She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings Frank, Grover, Elaine, and Harold; two step-children, Gail and Gary Burnett; and two grandsons, David Burnett and Scott Phillips.
Any donations in her honor would be gratefully accepted at Okanogan Community Action and the nursing program at Wenatchee Valley College.
Visitation will be held Thursday, December 19, 2013 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Precht- Harrison-Nearents Chapel, 2547 Elmway, Okanogan, WA. 98840.
Her family appreciates all the support and kindness from the community and invites you to attend her service at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, at the Precht-Harrison-Nearents Chapel.
Precht-Harrison-Nearents Chapel has been entrusted with the arrangements.