Hazel Dawn Swanberg, 109, passed away peacefully at Oak Crest, the DeKalb area retirement center on July 10, 2012. She had lived at Oak Crest since May 1980. She had been quite physically and socially active her entire life, and only in the past few months had begun to experience any significant problems of aging.
Hazel was born in Hinckley on March 3, 1903, the first child of Warren Edmond and Ida Marie (nee Reimensnyder) Landers. Her siblings consisted of two sisters, Gertrude Knief of Burlington, Ill., and Virginia Hoyt of Elburn; and one brother, Wayne Landers of Elgin, Ill.
After high school, she attended what is now Northern Illinois University and earned a one-year elementary teaching certificate. She was involved in teaching in one-room country schools, both before and after her marriage. One of her early memories was of going to teach at a one-room school in a horse-drawn buggy, making $85 per month. She married Everett Swanberg of Lily Lake on June 27, 1925, and lived and partnered with him on the family dairy farm until Everett’s death in 1957.
Since her “retirement” and move to Oak Crest, she had continued to be involved with teaching, often presenting to elementary school classes, reading to children and working as a volunteer tutor. She was quite active in a variety of Oak Crest events, and was noted for her role as “Hard-Hearted Hannah” in a Oak Crest theatrical production. She remained an avid reader until just a few weeks ago. For more than 100 years, she has been associated with and a member of the Lily Lake Congregational Church, where she once taught Sunday school and is a past-president of the Ladies Aid Society.
She is survived by her son, Arvon of Missouri; three grandchildren, Dale of Missouri, Evelyn of Kentucky and Cindy of Oklahoma; four great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by four nephews, Lowell Knief, Byron Knief, Robert Hoyt and Duane Landers; two nieces, Patricia Knief and Phyllis Landers; and a sister-in-law, Norda Landers.
One special survivor is her closest of friends, Karen Buck of Sycamore, who visited Hazel almost every Thursday for the past 21 years. Karen and her husband Jim have been devoted friends who have involved themselves in Hazel’s life in wonderful ways that are deeply appreciated by Hazel and her family.
Hazel was preceded in death by her husband, Everett, in March 1957; her parents, Warren and Ida Landers; her brother, Wayne; and her sisters, Gertrude and Virginia.
Visitation will take place Sunday, July 22, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Conley Funeral Home. Funeral services for Hazel Swanberg will take place Monday, July 23, at 11 a.m. at the Lily Lake Congregational Church in Lily Lake. The Rev. Peter Akemann, pastor of the church, will officiate. Interment will follow at the Lily Lake cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested in Hazel Swanberg’s name to the Lily Lake Congregational Church or the Good Samaritan Fund of the DeKalb Area Retirement Center, and may be mailed to “Hazel Swanberg Memorial,” P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119.