Hazel Hilma Irene Fiskari was born on December 9, 1933 at home in Leaf Lake Township, rural Ottertail, Minnesota. Her parents were the late Harry and Hilma (Hentila) Fiskari. Hazel was baptized on March 1, 1934 and Confirmed on June 20, 1948. She graduated from the New York Mills High School with the class of 1952 and was employed at the “renowned” Heinola General Store. On May 9, 1953 Hazel was united in marriage with Jerry Basel Bentley at the Fiskari Family Farm in Leaf Lake Township, Ottertail, MN. Their marriage was blessed with three daughters: Sandi, Lisa and Becky. Hazel and Jerry resided for a couple of years in Bovey, Minnesota where Jerry was employed at the mines. In 1955 they returned to New York Mills where they purchased a farm in Newton Township, rural New York Mills. Hazel raised their family as Jerry farmed and during these years she also worked out of the home at Uptown Café in Wadena, the Perham Hospital and at Irv’s Grocery in New York Mills. A few years later Jerry returned to work on the Great Lakes “iron ore boats”. Hazel braved the challenge of being a “Widow of the Waves” and her and the girls ventured to Duluth on a regular basis for time with “Dad” when he was in port.
Along with the family road trips to Duluth, Hazel and her daughters spent countless hours at Leaf Lakes. Hazel and Jerry enjoyed drives around the country side looking for deer and being “Sunday Drivers”. Music concerts at County Fairs was a favorite activity for her. Visits with friends and relatives were a staple for Hazel and the whole family. In 2003, after forty-eight years on the farm, Hazel and Jerry moved to Kaleva Apartments in New York Mills. Jerry passed away in 2009 and in 2018 Hazel moved to Henning Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center and resided there until it closed in June 2019. The closure resulted in making her last earthly move to Mills Manor in New York Mills.
Most important to Hazel was being a wife, a mom, a grandma and a great grandmother. The family would say she was a top notch “private eye” since she could always track down one of her own, if needed. Hazel was a life-long member of the Apostolic Lutheran Church in New York Mills and brought up her children to trust the Lord.
On May 17, 2020 Hazel passed away peacefully at Mills Manor in New York Mills at 86 years of age. Hazel left a rich legacy for her loved ones. She will be dearly missed, yet there is rejoicing as she has completed her faith-filled journey in life and is now home in Heaven. Preceding Hazel in death were her parents, Harry and Hilma Fiskari; husband, Jerry; parents-in-law, Norman and Tegla Bentley; brothers: Marshall Fiskari and Stanley Fiskari; brothers-in-law: Reuben (Shirlyn) Bentley, Marvin (Kathy) Bentley; sisters-in-law: Eldora (Stanley) Fiskari, Elmie (Marvin) Fiskari and Kathy (Marvin) Bentley.
Hazel is survived by her 3 daughters: Sandi Bentley of New York Mills; Lisa (David) Mann of New York Mills and Becky (Eric) Engler of New York Mills; 3 grandchildren: Jennifer (Joel) Jacobs; Megan Patterson and Timothy Mann; 6 great-grandchildren: Tristen Jacobs, Colton Jacobs, Grace Jacobs, Annabelle Jacobs, JeraLee Patterson and Brekkyn Saewert; brother, Marvin Fiskari of New York Mills; many other relatives and a host of friends.
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