Hazel Faith Schuster Larsen Baker, 97, of Hardwick died on Sunday, January 24, 2021 at Copley Hospital in Morrisville.
She is preceded in death by her father, George Bartholomew Schuster and her mother, Sara Mills Schuster as well as her husband, William Edward Baker Sr (1966) and two of their three children; David R. Baker of Red Hook, NY (1985) and Sandra Baker Bloch of Blakeslee, PA (2012). Hazel was also predeceased by her older siblings including her sisters, Dorothy Sordelet and Winiked Hally Jackson and her brothers George, Raymond, Milfred and Stanley Schuster.
As her mother passed away at the time of her birth, Hazel was adopted by her father’s sister, Henrietta Schuster Larsen and husband, Carl Larsen. She is also preceded in death by three grandchildren; Kevin and Larry Briggs of NY and Jonathan Bloch of NJ.
Hazel is survived by her youngest daughter, Linda Scheider of Hardwick, grandchildren; Richard Bright Jr. of Hardwick and Debbi Howard of Hardwick, Daniel Bright of Pensacola, FL and Gregory Scheider of Redding, CA. All total, there are 14 grandchildren, twenty-five great grandchildren, eleven great great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Hazel worked for the state of NY for many years. In retirement, she moved to NJ then Pennsylvania and then Vermont. In earlier years, Hazel loved to oil paint and she did it well. As she got older, she did a lot of pen work in design books, was very good with crossword puzzles and had fun with jigsaw puzzles. She also was a firm believer in exercise and peddled her exercise bike almost every day! She loved to reminisce about her early life and elaborate on the changes in living it. She would tell of her childhood, of being born in 1923 and raised in Yonkers, NY and how Nick, the ice man would come with his horse drawn wagon to deliver large chunks of ice for the icebox. He would send it up to the top floor of their railroad flat in the dumbwaiter.
She marveled at all the buildings being torn down on East 133rd Street and Southern Boulevard for the eventual construction of the Triborough Bridge. Then when the bridge was completed, she and a childhood companion walked all the way over the span to Long Island and back. They never left the bridge on the Long Island side as they were scared of the unknown...Hazel would recall her mother taking her on the trolley uptown to go shopping in Blumstein’s or Adams-Flanagan, two large department stores in the area. She thought it was great fun to watch the clerks put the cash in cylinders which would travel on tracks near the ceiling and wind up in some mysterious place (to her) and then return with the change!
Even more than her stories, her singing-or rather what she sang-was so very fascinating. Old fishermen ditties that you never heard of and at times, they could be a bit off color in spots and she delighted in any shocked expressions. Then there were the long-ago radio advertising jingles, she knew them all...
Diamonds in the mind
To keep forever,
Dreams are there to find
All packed away.
Reflections of life’s
Times beset with strife
Or times to play.
All of life, lived well,
Wrapped up in memories
To share and to retell
-Sandra Baker Bloch
As she requested, the family shall hold a private celebration of Hazel’s life in the spring. Arrangements are with the des Groseilliers Funeral Home. Memories and condolences may be shared at dgfunerals.com.
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