Hazel Cleo Clay was born on June 9, 1920, in Port Gibson, Mississippi. She was the baby of nine children born to the union of Chattie Dunigan and Annie Pendleton Dunigan. Eight children preceded her in death.
Hazel received her formal education in the public school system in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1939, Hazel relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where she met and married her husband, Eddie Clay, who preceded her in death.
In 1940, Hazel joined West Point Missionary Baptist Church where she served as a member of the Deborah Club and the Senior Citizen Club.
Hazel worked as a LPN for Hines VA Hospital for 39 years where she received numerous awards for service, as well as awards for Federal Employee of the Year.
Hazel began her journey in Eureka Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, State of Illinois PHA when she became a member of Rosie E. Moore Chapter 78 in 1950. The first station she served was that of Esther. She was elected to the office of Worthy Matron in 1959, and subsequently, became a member and Past President of the Superior Worthy Matrons Club. Hazel worked in various capacities in the Order before becoming Grand Lecturer of Eureka Grand Chapter in 1982. Before becoming Worthy Grand Matron, Hazel participated in other bodies within the Prince Hall Family. The various offices she held included: Past Most Ancient Matron of Modern Princess Court 65, Heroines of Jericho, 1988, Past President of the Fine Arts Guild, 1989, Past Princess Captain of Hugh Depayne Guild, and Charter Member of Robert Williams Court 60 and Ladies of the Circle for Perfection. In 1990, Hazel was elected and installed in the Office of Worthy Grand Matron for the first time and served until 1992. During her tenure, her motto was “Loving and Working Together in Unity.” This motto has carried over and proven itself by her acceptance to serve again as Worthy Grand Matron for 1996. She was the only Past Grand Matron to serve two terms from 1997-1998.
On Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 6:00 am, Hazel was born into eternity.
She leaves to cherish her memory and celebrate her life, her sister-in-law, Susie Robinson; nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews; and numerous other relatives and friends.
Chicago, IL 60649
Chicago, IL 60653
Chicago, IL 60637