Hazel Vitko, 87, Minot, died Monday, May 13, 2013, in a Minot hospital.
Hazel Ottilla O'Clair was born in the family home on Nov. 2, 1925, a daughter of Walter and Josephine (Harmoning) O'Clair, in Tolley. She was raised north of Tolley and graduated the eighth grade from School #3, in Grover Township, Tolley. Hazel graduated from Tolley High School in 1944.
After graduation, she moved to Kenmare and worked at MDU to earn money to attend beauty school. At the encouragement of her parents, she attended Trinity School of Nursing in Minot, graduating as a registered nurse in September 1948. She worked for Trinity Health from 1945, then as an RN from 1948 until her retirement in 1995.
She was once married to George Vitko. They had four children, Mitchell, Don, Barbara and Joyce, whom they raised in Minot.
Heaven is a more beautiful place as Hazel has arrived. Her life-long love of planting trees, flowers, gardening, bird watching and spending as much time outdoors is sure to be a welcome sight in heaven. It was often said that "she had the best tomatoes around." She always had gorgeous flowers and trees. As Hazel aged, and walking became more difficult, it did not stop her from planting her flowers and tomatoes. She just moved the garden onto her deck.
Hazel also had a great love of caring for others. She especially loved working in the high risk nursery, where she was a natural at caring for the babies. She always took great pride in all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She always had her doors open to help someone when needed. When one would stop by to see her, they had to have extra time for special conversations. Her 50-plus years of nursing never ended at retirement as she continued to care for others throughout her life. She was "hands on" during the delivery of her four grandchildren, Brian, Tonia, Dustin and Emily.
She was proud to be a "Tolley Tiger" graduate, where she was also a cheerleader. She could play the piano, accordion and guitar, all of which she learned to play by ear. Her various hobbies included knitting, sewing, quilting and crafts. She loved the Norsk Hostfest, never missing a year. She especially enjoyed Daniel O'Donnell performances. It was said that it was more fun to watch Hazel than Daniel as she was just like a teenager when he would perform. Hearing his music will always remind us of Hazel and the happiness that it brought to her.
Hazel loved to travel. She took her children on many trips as they were growing up. Later on she would go on several bus tours throughout the United States. She would also take long trips in the camper with family or friends. She was even able to travel to Europe with son, Don, and daughter-in-law, Kim.
"Mom, you have touched so many lives throughout the years and there is always going to be "that something" that will remind us of you. You will be missed more than words can describe. Knowing that you are happy and not hurting anymore is comforting."
Hazel spoke of late about going to heaven and that she couldn't understand why it was taking so long. Well heaven, it is your gain and our loss.
She was a member of the Vincent United Methodist Church of Minot.
Hazel is survived by: Her children, Mitchell Vitko, Surrey, Donald (Kim) Vitko, Minot, Barbara Stredwick, Minot, and Joyce (Ray) Smith, Tolley; four grandchildren Brian Vitko, Minot, Tonia Vitko, Minot, Dustin Stredwick and his fiancee Tina Boyer , Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Emily Stredwick and her significant other, Tyler Weston, of Austin, Texas; great-grandchildren, Solana and Levi; special friends, Greg and Julie Engel and family and Sharon Trandby and family; numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many dear friends also survive.
Hazel was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Mike O'Clair; two infant sisters, Betty and Maxine; and daughter-in-law, Diane Vitko.
Visitation: There will be no reviewal, however, people may sign a guest book on Friday, May 17, 2013, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot. At Hazel's request, no formal funeral services will be held.
Graveside service: will take place, Friday at noon at Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to an organization of the donor's choice, or people are encouraged to plant a tree in Hazel's memory.
Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories may access the online obituaries section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).