Hazel (Soiseth) Durfee, 102

Hazel (Soiseth) Durfee went to be with the Lord at 102 years of age in Tampa Florida in March, just short of her 103rd birthday. Her mother, Henrikka Soiseth had lived to 105.

Hazel was one of eight children born and raised on the family homestead near Alamo ND. She had an identical twin sister Louise. Sadly Louise died as a teenager. Hazel grew up on the family farm homesteaded by her immigrant parents Lars and Henrikka Soiseth from Norway who came to break the land in 1904.

After her education in the country school she decided to further her education and become a teacher. She arranged to attend Augsburg university in Minneapolis. Her family was poor so she had to work to pay for her own education.

She taught school in western North Dakota and became the principal of Bowbells High School. Later she moved to Washington state area and taught in several towns. There she me her husband to be Jay Durfee. She quit teaching to raise their only child Clark. Jay’s occupation required frequent moving. Over the years they lived in Mexico, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee and finally Florida. After losing her husband she stayed in Tampa Florida.

Hazel was an inspiration to her sisters, nieces and other young women. She had managed all on her own to go to college, an admirable achievement for a 1930’s farm girl. She taught school, traveled and went on to be a wife and mother.

Hazel is survived by two grandchildren Eric and Michael Durfee, and 25 nieces and nephews. As she wished her ashes will be buried in rural Hauge cemetery next to her twin sister and family members. A short graveside service will be held at Hauge cemetery on May 20, (her birthday) at 2 p.m.

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