Robert Hazen

Obituary of Robert Blyth Hazen

Local business leader, philanthropist and beloved husband, father and grandfather, Robert Blyth Hazen left this earth peacefully on May 2, 2023. He was 90. Mr. Hazen was born on November 13, 1932, in Springfield, Mass. His father, Edward Hazen, was president of Hazen Paper Company and his mother, Helen (Blyth) Hazen, was a gifted pianist who taught piano at Mount Holyoke College. After attending Westminster School in Connecticut, Bob graduated from Hamilton College in New York where he was a member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. Bob took a two-year hiatus from college to serve in the Army. A lifelong resident of South Hadley, Bob married Jean Alderman in November 1957. They resided in the same neighborhood of South Hadley where they first met. He often reflected on the first time he met Jean when she was learning how to drive a manual transmission in their neighborhood. “A keeper” he would often say. Bob and Jean celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary recently. Mr. Hazen was the second generation to lead his family business, Hazen Paper Company, a world class purveyor of specialty papers. As president for 40 years, his skill at forging relationships helped grow Hazen into a globally acclaimed specialty paper converter known for its quality and expertise. Most important to Mr. Hazen were his family, his dear wife Jean (Alderman) Hazen, his four children and four grandchildren whom he loved very much and who affectionally referred to him as Pop. He took great pleasure in attending his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events that included soccer games and ski races, supporting their efforts and cheering them on even when it meant standing for hours on the side of a mountain in subzero temperatures. A longtime friend of Bob’s youngest son said he modeled his own parenting strategy after Bob and Jean’s style of never missing events and always being positive, pushing their children in only a loving, encouraging manner to instill confidence. In retirement, Bob and Jean traveled the world and he especially loved exploring the streets of Paris and London. An expert skier, Bob and Jean’s annual ski trips with their friends and family were highlights. Their yearly family adventure to old-school Alta high up in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon was their favorite. He studied the local topography and surrounding mountain ranges and eagerly shared it with his children and grandchildren. Bob and Jean also established Stowe, VT as their second home for many years, a cozy gathering place for their family to enjoy summer and winter activities. Bob believed strongly in giving back to those less fortunate and making the world a better place for all. He volunteered for decades at numerous charitable organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the Holyoke YMCA, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Inc, and the First Congregational Church of South Hadley, UCC. Bob was a skilled and patient gardener. He spent hours each day cultivating his various plots on the family’s property. He delighted in watching his ferns, hepaticas and other shade-loving perennials thrive in his secret shade garden. He took great pleasure in touring his family and friends through his gardens and the charming winding paths, pointing out special species that he transplanted, often from far away. Bob would be happy to know the 200 bulbs he recently planted on his beloved daffodil hill, behind their home looking out over his favorite view of the Mt. Tom range, continue to bloom. He was tending carefully to his lawn just a week before his passing. As an outdoorsman, he fed the birds daily which occasionally also attracted bears, bobcats and other wildlife to their property. He took pride in sending pictures of the visitors to his worried children. His compromise was to bring the feeders inside every night, so the birds could still find food during the day. A tennis fanatic, Bob played the sport for more than 80 years and continued to play just months before his death. His tennis group, a second family of 30 years, was dear to his heart. Always competitive, Bob’s doctor recently recommended that he didn’t need to win every tennis game, and that he could play at 80 percent rather than 100 percent, which of course Bob found difficult to follow. Bob’s tennis edict was how Bob tackled every project in his life, working his hardest and giving his all to everything. A dedicated reader of history and biographies, he devoured hundreds of books each year. He loved waking up before the sunrise to read for a few hours before tackling the day. Bob's love of reading led to his pleasure of being a member of a discussion group for many years. In addition to his wife Jean of 65 years, he is survived by his daughters Sarah Howe and husband Todd, Susan Blyth Hazen; sons Robert and wife Carolyn, Bissell and wife Tammy; four grandchildren; Hannah and Elliot Howe, Nate and Will Hazen; and step-grandson Marcel Sayre. Bob also leaves behind his beloved dog Kassi. His brother Edward E. Hazen Jr. passed away in 2017. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a local food bank that serves South Hadley and Granby or the First Congregational Church of South Hadley, UCC. The Hazen family would like to thank the entire staff at the Holyoke Medical Center for its care of Mr. Hazen the few weeks before his passing. A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at the First Congregational Church of South Hadley, UCC (aka The Center Church) on June 12, 2023 at 1:30pm.
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Celebration of Life

1:30 pm
Monday, June 12, 2023
Center Church/First Congregational Church
1 Church St.
South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States
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