SOUTH BOARDMAN — Hazel Sandeen Butler passed away at Munson Hospice House on June 26, 2014. She was born Jan. 9, 1915, in Trident, Mont., to Charles and Rilla (Martindale) Sandeen. She moved with her parents to the Rapid City/Alden area at an early age.
She was the eldest of seven children. Siblings included Dale Sandeen, Alice (Sandeen) Keaton, Harold Sandeen, Robert Sandeen, Jack Sandeen, Richard Protrafka and Donald Protrafka.
Hazel graduated from Rapid City High School in 1932 and received her teaching certificate from County Normal.
In 1934 she began her teaching career at the Luce School in Boardman Township, Kalkaska County, boarding with the Butler family. This is where she met Norman who became her husband in 1935. To this union was born one son, Kyle Justin Butler.
Hazel received her BA in education from Central Michigan University in 1966. Hazel retired in 1977 after teaching 36 years in the elementary grades, 32 of them at South Boardman. She also taught at the Saunders and Deibert Schools.
Hazel was an exceptionally gifted woman who loved to read, travel, garden and bowl. She also enjoyed feeding and watering the birds who came to her kitchen window.
After Hazel retired she volunteered for many church, community and civic organizations. She was a hospice volunteer for many years making home visits and working in the Kalkaska office. She also was involved for 24 years with the South Boardman Museum, many years with the Kalkaska County Historical Society and the Kalkaska County Library, serving for more than 20 years on the Board of Trustees. She continued to be a supporter of the Friends of the Library.
Hazel was honored by family, friends and educational peers many times over the years, including PTO Citizen of the Year and having a park in the middle of South Boardman named after her. For many years Hazel used the old pine tree in this park as a means to teach a math concept.