Hazel Denise Oetjen
Our beautiful, dear, sweet, loving Mother Hazel Denise Oetjen died peacefully at home with her family in Colorado Springs, CO on April 12th. She was the first born daughter of Swedish immigrants and longtime residents of Santa Barbara Wilhelm and Greta Morsing.
Hazel was born and grew up in New Jersey. Her father was a very proper dignified Swedish gentleman who worked as a mechanical engineer for Thomas Edison. Her mother was an accomplished pianist and homemaker who passed on a lifelong love of music to both Hazel and her younger sister Ruth.
Hazel was a 1947 graduate of Bridgewater College in Virginia where she was awarded a BA degree in Marketing. Following graduation she returned to N.J. where she worked for AT&T and met the love of her life Arba “Pete” Oetjen; a WWII veteran and former POW captured at the Battle of the Bulge.
Hazel and Pete shared a love of music and family. Shortly before their marriage in 1951, they wrote a song entitled “After All.” They subsequently appeared on the television show “Songs for Sale” where “After All” was sung and recorded by Rosemary Clooney backed by a full orchestra.
Following marriage, Hazel and Pete began raising their four children over the course of many moves precipitated by Pete’s Government service. Hazel easily established cherished lifelong friendships wherever Pete’s job took them from New Jersey to Texas to California to Alaska to Louisiana and back to Texas again. Hazel and Pete settled in Santa Barbara upon their retirement.
Hazel’s musical talent was enjoyed and admired by all who knew her. She frequently volunteered to play piano for her church and civic groups. Sheet music was never necessary since Hazel could easily play for hours from memory, or hear music and translate it to the keys of the piano; often with original modifications and flourishes that improved the listening experience.
Hazel’s caring, beautiful spirit, sense of adventure and love for life led to many happy memories picnicking, camping, traveling and experiencing the world; and connecting with people everywhere. She was very proud of her Swedish heritage, spoke the language fluently and treasured many trips to her parent’s homeland to visit and connect with close relatives.
Hazel is survived by her daughter Denise of Goleta, sons Thomas (Kristie) and Rodger (Ofelia) of Colorado Springs, and son Eric of Vacaville. She is also survived by two grandsons (Cameron and Spencer) and a granddaughter (Scarlett Hazel); as well as her sister-in-law Bev and many special cousins, nieces and nephews in the U.S and Sweden. She was predeceased by her loving parents, her beloved husband Pete and her amazing, awesome sister Ruth.
Hazel was extremely patriotic and very proud of her children who all served in the U.S. Army. Her three sons graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. She was a long term resident of Santa Barbara prior to her move to Colorado last year. A memorial gathering for family and close friends will take place on June 26th at Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara.