“Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” – Judy Blume
You just don’t see many 90-year old women driving a burnt orange Hummer. And if you called it orange, friends say Hazel would remind you it was in fact ‘Solar Flare’. Often spotted jumping into her mammoth vehicle for a quick trip from The Cypress to Blowing Rock, Hazel Solomon was a sight to be seen according to her good friend and money manager Al Winget. Duke and Yale educated, Hazel worked for 39 years as the head nurse in the ER of Charlotte Memorial Hospital (now better known as Carolinas Medical Center).
A close friend of hers in Blowing Rock told us Hazel “loved new experiences, tennis, Duke Basketball and studying at school.” In her eighties, Hazel set out to try a motorcycle for the first time and also dragged friends along for a trip in a hot air balloon. This zest for life crossed over into her professional drive as well. She was one of just a handful of women selected to attend Yale in the 1940’s, breaking down barriers to women’s equality within education.
Introduced to Alexander Youth Network in April 1995 by her friend and business acquaintance Ben Vernon, Hazel began to make small gifts to the agency on a regular basis. She would visit campus to chat with the children, demonstrating her incredible compassion those most marginalized in our community.
Three years after her first visit, Hazel decided to include Alexander in her will. A dedicated member of Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church, Hazel believed in the power of service and philanthropy. Having outlived her parents and sister, she began to invest in real estate ventures to much success. She would immediately invest the proceeds of her dealings and her estate continued to grow. When Hazel passed away in February of 2016, she left the bulk of her estate to charity. Alexander Youth Network was one of those beneficiaries.
We are forever grateful for Hazel’s warm smile and huge heart. For more than 20 years, Hazel provided the children at Alexander the opportunity to heal and realize their potential. The legacy she leaves behind includes countless lives touched, dreams made possible and hopes realized.