Hazel Ann Kurkowski
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Hazel Ann Kurkowski
  • May 26, 1936 - December 23, 2016
  • Oneonta, New York

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Hazel Ann Kurkowski, 80, of Oneonta, passed away on Friday, December 23rd at Focus Otsego after a courageous and feisty battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Hazel was born on May 26, 1936 in Albany, NY and was the daughter of George and Edith (Dewitt) Hotaling. She was one of six children who grew up in a loving and happy home in the village of Voorheesville. Hazel graduated from Voorheesville Central School in 1953 and then attended Oneonta State College. It was there that she met the love of her life, Frederick and the two were wed in January of 1956.

Hazel's passion in life was to help and support others so it made perfect sense when she chose a career in primary education and eventually settled in as a kindergarten teacher in the elementary schools in Oneonta. During her many years of teaching she touched countless lives, nurtured those that were less fortunate and always cheered for the underdog. To this day her children are frequently approached by former students whose lives she changed for the better. In addition to enhancing the lives of her students, she was also a favorite amongst her fellow teachers. She loved what she did and her enthusiasm and humor were infectious.

In addition to Hazel's love of teaching, she was quite social and the life of every party. She and Fred were active members of the Oneonta Country Club and Hazel loved playing golf with her "golf girls" as often as she could. Hazel also loved to walk early each morning and was seen throughout the neighborhoods with her big smile and a wave.

Upon retirement Hazel and Fred spent their winters in Vero Beach, FL for twenty- five years where they found lifelong friendships. While Hazel's children were her life, her love was so abundant that it stretched beyond her immediate family into the lives of her children's friends, spouses and anyone who needed love, support or guidance. "Hazey's" front door and refrigerator door were always open.

Hazel is survived by her son Kevin, (Susan) and grandchildren Kaitlyn, Kyle and Kevers. Her daughter Kim, (Kerry) Huffman and grandchildren Alec, Zachary and Caden. Her daughter Kari Ahlqvist and granddaughter Emily. Daughter Kristie Flynn and and grandchildren Liam, Jack and Lily. She is also survived by her brothers Hank, (Peg) Hotaling and James Hotaling. Sisters Bonnie, (Clark) Mosier, Edith, (Bruce) Zeh and many loving nieces and nephews.

Hazel was predeceased by her brother William Hotaling and her loving husband Frederick Kurkowski, who when she saw for the first time walk across the stage at Oneonta State whispered to her best friend, "That's the man I am going to marry"!

Our family would like to give a special thank you to Heidi Lowe for the unconditional love and care she gave our Mom. We also want to give a special thanks to the OFD, especially Peter Barberio, Mike Mancini and Don Tubia who took great care of our Mom.

A gathering of family and friends will be held on Friday, December 30th from 4-6pm at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand Street, Oneonta.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Hazel's memory to The Alzheimer's Association of NENY, 4 Pine West Plaza, #405, Albany, NY, 12205.

Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting our website: www.grummonsfuneralhome.com

Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home of Oneonta, NY.