Hazel's fascination with aviation began at an early age. At 4 years and 9 months, she eagerly stared skyward anticipating the historic fly over any moment. She and hundreds of others listened intently for the noise signaling the beginning of Charles Lindberg’s historic flight across the Atlantic.
At Bayonne Junior High School in New Jersey she had the life changing opportunity to attend a presentation and then meet her aviation heroine, Amelia Earhart. Hazel’s love of aviation continued to grow and she dreamt that one day she could be a pioneer in flight like Amelia.
It was Hazel’s grandmother who financed her first flying lesson at Newark, New Jersey airport. Despite the older gentleman not being dressed in WWI pilots gear like she had imaged, but rather a suit and tie, she was thrilled by the opportunity to be up in the sky.
When Hazel went off to secretarial school at the insistence of her father, her passion for flight was still present, this leading her to falter in her studies in a deliberate attempt to return to the air. After her father agreed to allow her to drop out of school, she eagerly began flying lessons. As her flying skills grew, she transitioned from land planes to sea planes on the Hackensack River out of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. It is in December of that year, Pearl Harbor was bombed.
She began working at plane manufacturers. After numerous duties at various manufacturers and on-going flight training, Hazel traveled to Sweetwater, Texas and joined the Women Air Force Service pilots (WASPs). During her time as a WASP Hazel ferried AT6s, P-47 fighters, L-4s, PT-19s, AT-16s, B-26 P-51 and BT13s.
When the WASPs were disbanded, Hazel returned to civilian life, married, and raised four children. Although her life in the WASPs had ended, her love of aviation never did. She continued to be highly involved with numerous aviation organizations especially the local chapters of the Ninety-Nines and Experimental Aircraft Association.