Hazel Kohlhaas

Dec. 30, 1909 – Oct. 22, 2010

Hazel Kohlhaas, 100, died Friday, Oct. 22, 2010, at Hearthstone in Whitewater. Born Dec. 30, 1909, to Vernon County farmers Charles and Mary Zietlow, Hazel was the sixth of eight children.

As a 9-year-old, she watched "the boys" march off to World War I and decided to become a nurse while helping to care for seven sick relatives during the flu pandemic of 1918-19. She graduated from Norwalk High School and Luther Hospital School of Nursing in Eau Claire. In the mid-1930s, Hazel moved to Genesee Depot to serve as the registered nurse and office manager for her brother, Fred, who was a physician. There she met Otto Kohlhaas, whom she married in 1936.

A woman of great energy and ambition, she canned and froze great volumes of vegetables and fruits from Otto’s huge garden. After his death in 1984, she continued the gardening and canning until she was 92, even though she was convinced he would not approve of her slightly crooked rows and an occasional weed here and there. She loved cooking and entertained often.

Having done private-duty nursing in the 1950s, she then took a nursing refresher course and began at age 50 a full-time nursing job at the Waukesha County Home. A people person, she loved the patients and her co-workers, even though they soon learned she was a tough taskmaster. In her old age, she moved to Hearthstone and she liked it immediately because she knew the routine, and as her memory declined, she said, "I took care of lots of people like me."

In addition to her homemaking activities and her caring for the sick, either relatives in her home or those she served in the community, Hazel was a practicing Christian, displaying in her life a healthy dose of Old Testament belief in "the law" (right was right and wrong was wrong), but she lived mostly a New Testament life serving and forgiving all those she loved, those she took care of and many others in between. For her entire 100 years, Hazel was a churchwoman, having been an Evangelical, an Evangelical United Brethren, a United Presbyterian and a United Methodist. She especially enjoyed attending Women’s Schools of Mission during the 1950s and early 1960s.

Hazel is survived by a daughter, Caroline Wieman; a son, Charles (Joan) Kohlhaas; two granddaughters, Sarah (Peter) Anderson and Mary Wieman; two stepgrandsons, Robert (Amy) Anderson and Marc (Jodi) Anderson; one great-granddaughter, Abigail Anderson; and five step-great-grandchildren, Mara, Emily, Luke, Liam and Graham Anderson.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Otto; her son-in-law, Charles Wieman; her seven siblings, Carl, Arthur, Herbert and Fredrick Zietlow, and Mabel Lindahl, Severa Schamens and Clara Williams and their spouses, as well as her husband’s brothers and sisters and their spouses.

Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, at Randle-Dable Funeral Home, 1110 S. Grand Ave., Waukesha. A second visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral service Tuesday, Oct. 26, at Salem United Methodist Church, 541 Highway 59, Waukesha. Burial will follow at Highland Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to Hearthstone, 426 W. North St., Whitewater, WI 53190; First United Methodist Church, 145 S. Prairie St., Whitewater, WI 53190; or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

For further information, please call Randle-Dable Funeral, Cremation and Preplanning Services at 547-4035 or go to www.waukeshafunerals.com for directions or to leave an online tribute.