On a sunny fall afternoon, a group of 20 family and friends gathered at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery for a graveside service for Marilyn Hardy Hazelwood. Her niece Bonnie said of Marilyn, “After all these years, she was still the brightest color in the box.” The colorful flowers surrounding the Southwest-themed urn holding her cremated remains echoed that sentiment.
Her nephew Rick Quant started the casual service saying Marilyn was his favorite aunt (but he says that about all his aunts). Marilyn always gave the best Christmas gifts, made the best red chile tamales and posole, and she always took good care of him. He selected the closest burial plot he could get for her to be next to his mother in the cemetery (Marilyn’s sister).
He then invited the gathered relatives and friends to add their remembrances of Marilyn. She was originally from Washington, Illinois (near Peoria) and moved to Albuquerque in the 1950s. She was a cheerleader in high school who could do a triple back flip. An impish teen beamed from the pages of the yearbook that was passed around.
She had a sense of humor, too. While in high school, the story was told that she didn’t want to go to a dance with a particular boy. She put lipstick dots on her face and said she had measles to get out of going.
Marilyn had a stroke about 15 years ago which paralyzed her right side and affected her ability to get the right words out. For many years she resided at the South Valley Rehabilitation Facility.
Her companion/nurse Mary Ellen Pope said that Marilyn reminded her of a sitting Buddha – content to be where she was, always grateful, happy and accepting. Mary Ellen recently took Marilyn to the Flying Star Cafe, for a delightful lunch and a much-enjoyed piece of coconut cream pie. Marilyn also liked grapes and she loved chocolate.
Jim Hess said that Marilyn always had a deep, strong voice that could be kind of scary. Her voice was also affected by the cigarettes she smoked up to the end. Rachel Hess said that Marilyn was always gracious, friendly and kind.
Marilyn died at the age of 79. She was preceded in death by three brothers and five sisters. She is survived by her brothers, Jim Hardy and Dave Hardy; son Patrick; and numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who loved her and will miss her.