Hazel Maitland Instilled Her Optimism in Others

Hazel E. Maitland of Oak Bluffs died April 8 at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She was 104.

Hazel was born in Agawam on August 23, 1900, and was the daughter of May Parsons Brandt. Hazel's father, Gustave A. Brandt, was a concert pianist born in Rosen, Germany and later moved to the United States where he met May Parsons who lived in the Army Grounds in Springfield.

As a child, Hazel's life was richly surrounded by music. She shared with her family the wonderful memories of arriving home from school to hear her mother and father playing duets on the two pianos in the living room. It was a lively, happy home as she and her four sisters enjoyed gathering around the pianos singing their favorite songs.

Hazel's uncle, Lucius Allin, of the Army Grounds in Springfield, was one of the founders of Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield from which Hazel received a pin and certificate for perfect Sunday attendance. Her uncle Lucius also invented and patented an improvement in the process of bronzing gun barrels on June 2, 1874.

Hazel is also related to Robert F. Bradford who later became the governor of Massachusetts in 1947.

She was the widow of John B. Maitland, prominent druggist of Springfield and East Longmeadow. They were married in the late 1920s and honeymooned in Oak Bluffs at the Frasier House in the Methodist Camp Ground where they later purchased a home in Trinity Park.

Hazel devoted most of her adult life to raising her two daughters, Carol and Gloria, but her early married life was spent working side by side with her husband, John, in his first drugstore in Somerville which he owned at age 21. It was Hazel who suggested that John grow a mustache since patrons of the store didn't think he looked old enough to fill prescriptions.

Hazel was an avid reader, especially mysteries, and loved to play bridge. She had an uncanny memory right up to her death and enjoyed sharing with her family, friends and nurses about Island history, stories about the Titanic, reciting quotations and poetry. Her nurses often remarked that, "She was one sharp lady."

Hazel and family were members of the East Chop Beach Club from the 1940s and later on enjoyed watching her grandsons participate in the many beach club and yacht club activities, especially the weekly yacht club mk and gem races.

Hazel was honored on her 100th birthday on the night of the Grand Illumination where she carried the first lantern to be lit for the evening celebration. Her daughters, Gloria and Carol, held a birthday celebration on her porch and presented her with a large white lantern signed by her family and many Camp Ground friends. This was to be hung on her porch every Illumination Night.

Another highlight was President Clinton taking hold of her hand in the Tabernacle and walking her back to her cottage to take a look at one of her oldest lanterns hanging on her porch. The flag on the lantern was so ancient that it had only 32 stars.

Hazel leaves behind her daughters, Gloria and Al Alexander of East Chop and the Camp Ground, and Carol Norbury, widow of Thomas Norbury of Eastville. She also leaves behind four grandsons and their wives, Rob Alexander and Amelia, Todd Alexander and Kara, Tom Norbury and Vonnay, Scott Norbury, Wendy and her daughter, Tabitha. She leaves behind three great-grandchildren, Justin and Sofia Alexander, Alysha Norbury and was so looking forward to Todd and Kara's first baby due in June.

She was predeceased by her siblings, Gladys Boileau, Mildred McCarthy, Beatrice Rousseau, Zella Botta and half brother, Irving Woods. Hazel also leaves many nieces and nephews.

She instilled in her family a positive attitude toward life. One of her favorite sayings was, "When you wake up in the morning, you can make it a good day or bad day; I choose to make it a good day."

Hazel's wish was to be buried with her favorite locket which held pictures of her two devoted daughters, Carol and Gloria. Arrangements were under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason. A graveside burial for the immediate family was in Oak Grove Cemetery of Vineyard Haven on April 12 with Rev. Alden Besse officiating. Donations may be made in Hazel's memory to an Island charity of one's choice.