Hazel B. Smith
Hazel B. Smith, 93, was born in a sod house on Burns Creek, MT, February 26, 1913 to Bern H. Storm and Grace (Conger) Storm.
At the age of 23, Hazel went to Flathead Lake, MT to be a housekeeper to a doctors family. In 1940, Hazel came to the Black Hills to be a guide in the Original Crystal Cave (Bethlehem Cave) that was owned by her uncle. She met Homer Smith there and became engaged.
They were married in Las Vegas in 1941 and traveled by train to California where they resided. They built their own home there.
In 1945 when the war was over, they sold everything and moved back to the Hills. They started the Black Hills Calcium Company above Elk Creek Canyon. They built a house, a mill and all the outbuildings themselves.
During the summers of 1951 and 1953, she and Homer leased and ran the Original Crystal Cave.
Hazel spent everyday raising five children, keeping the house clean, taking the kids to school and picking them up twice a day, eight miles each way, and helping Homer in the quarry and mill. She sewed the kids clothes and canned hundreds of quarts of vegetables every year from a huge garden. This was all done without the benefit of running water or electricity or a phone.
Despite being unable to pay for college educations, Hazel went out and found funds for every one of her children to go to college. Due to her conviction that everyone should be educated, all five of her children graduated from college.
Hazels industriousness included the community. She helped establish and build a community church in Piedmont and the Piedmont Senior Center.
She took up china painting as a hobby. She moved to Rapid City after Homer passed away in 1987. She babysat grandchildren until she was almost 80 and helped her children clean and paint the exterior of their houses up until she broke a hip at the age of 84.
She was a member of the Evangelical Free Church and helped support the church, Rainbow Bible Ranch, Campus Crusade and various missionaries. She was politically active, writing letters to and meeting with congressmen. She was a regular contributor to editorials in the local paper. She was in frequent contact with each current president and various other political entities. In the last decade, she participated in political rallies and demonstrations.
She is survived by her daughters, Verda Swenson and husband John of Sundance, WY, Sheryl Garber and husband Lloyd of Brookville, OH, Ardyce Tatum and husband Myron of Rapid City, and Berna Smith of Woodbridge, VA. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Homer Smith, one son Wallace Smith and her parents and sister Mayme Storm.
Visitation will be at Kirk Funeral Home in Rapid City on Sunday March 26, 2006 from 4pm 6pm. A memorial service will be held at the First Evangelical Free Church in Rapid City on Monday at 3:30pm. Memorials may be sent to Rainbow Bible Ranch, 14676 Lone Tree Place, Sturgis, SD 57785 or First Evangelical Free Church, 1124 Kansas City Street, Rapid City, SD 57702.