Hazel Cheek Baumgarner

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hazel Cheek Baumgarner passed away at the age of 94 years and 11 months, at Moore-Few Care Center, Nevada, Mo., where she had resided the past year and nine months. Hazel was born May 1, 1919, the third child of Chester Raymond Cheek and Wave Tramble (Sharp) Cheek. She was born in the Horse Heaven Hills overlooking Kennewick, Wash. Her mother passed away when Hazel was 27 days old, leaving her along with a 4-year-old brother, Paul, and a 2-year-old sister, Immojean, to be reared by their grandparents.

Grandparents Thomas Edmund (Ed) Cheek and Amy (Ritter) Cheek brought the children to Missouri to live on their farm located seven miles northwest of Stockton. As children, they were driven in horse-drawn wagons to attend Antioch Christian Church.

After graduating from Stockton High School in 1937, at the age of 18, Hazel began her teaching career. She taught in six rural Cedar County schools with four years teaching in the Bear Creek Consolidated School District.

On April 4, 1943, Hazel was united in marriage to Finis Baumgarner. They became parents to three daughters, Bonnie, Brenda and Vicki. In 1953, Finis became disabled due to a back injury when he received a fall at the Hammons Walnut Plant. Hazel had temporarily stopped teaching to raise her girls, but at this time it was necessary to return to her teaching career. She taught from that time on, plus attended college at night and during the summer every year in order to receive her B.S. in education from Central Missouri State College in 1958. Hazel taught almost her entire career at the fifth grade level.

She was a member of the Missouri State Teachers Association for many years as well as a delegate to the National Educators Association in Seattle, Wash. Hazel was a member of Alpha Delta Kappa teacher's sorority, served 11 years on the Cedar County Library Board including presidency two years, a member of Sac Osage Retired Teachers Association, Cedar County Hospital Auxiliary, and Cedar County Historical Society. Hazel walked many miles around the El Dorado Springs area and received her 1,000 mile certificate when she was more than 80 years old. As a member of Pacesetters, she walked a total of 1,897 miles. She was a member of Pape Christian Church and enjoyed the ladies group meetings.

After retiring from her career as an educator in 1984, Hazel enjoyed traveling until she was 90 years of age. She traveled to seven European countries, as well as China, Japan, and Canada. Hazel loved telling about her trip to South America and taking a boat ride down the Amazon River in search of alligators. She visited all the states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Hazel was preceded in death by her parents; grandparents; husband, Finis; brother, Paul Cheek; sister, Immojean Cheek; and granddaughter, Season Smith. She is survived by her three daughters, Bonnie Tough, of Springfield, Mo., Brenda and husband, Chris Barrett, of Nevada, Mo., and Vicki and husband, Dave Smith, of Duncanville, Texas; grandchildren, Jackson Tough, Tevi Tough, Brandon Farnham, and Bret Smith; along with seven great-grandchildren.

Cremation will be under the direction of Sheldon Funeral Home in El Dorado Springs, Mo. A memorial will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 5, at the funeral home. Hazel will be placed beside Finis and her grandparents in Lindley Prairie Cemetery at Bear Creek, Mo., in a private ceremony. The family requests contributions be made to the Lindley Prairie Cemetery Association or the El Dorado Springs library in honor of Hazel's love of education and reading.