Hazel Nilson, a long-time summer resident of Stone Lake, died Wednesday at the age of 111.
Hazel gained national notoriety in recent years for her longevity. A life-long Chicago Cubs fan, Hazel was featured on national news programs in 2016 when the Cubs won the World Series, as she was possibly the only Cubs fan who was also alive when they won their previous world title in 1908.
Hazel and her husband, Swede, moved to a home on Stone Lake when they retired from their teaching careers in 1964, and in 1966 they began wintering in Florida. Swede died in 1992. Hazel moved to an assisted living facility in New Hampshire in 2014 to be closer to family.
Hazel has been the subject of numerous stories in the Sawyer County Record and Spooner Advocate over the past 20 years, beginning on her 95th birthday, which she celebrated by going whitewater rafting. Her nickname at the time was “Hurricane Hazel” because she was so active for her age.
Nilson continued to live alone until she moved to New Hampshire in 2014 at the age of 106; she even continued to drive until she voluntarily gave up her license at the age of 104.
According to Wikipedia, at the time of her death Hazel was the 82nd oldest living person in the world.
She enjoyed good health until just before her death.
According to family friend Gerald Cooper, Hazel died peacefully this week after a short hospitalization.
“It was only a few weeks ago,” Cooper said in an email to the Advocate, “that I watched her leaving the church with her walker, a slight bounce to her step, singing some cheerful ditty as she went down the hall.”
In addition to her husband, Hazel was preceded in death by her sons Dick and Robert.
Watch this week’s Advocate for a more complete story.