Hazel Thorson Stoick Stoeckeler was an artist, designer, author, and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Design, Housing and Apparel in the College of Human Ecology at the University of Minnesota. She was a graduate of the U of M, having earned a B.S. with distinction in 1940 in Art Education, Journalism and Art History, and an M.A. in Fine Arts and Architecture in 1945. As a graduate student, she studied mural art in Mexico in 1941 where she met with the famous Mexican muralists José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera.
In 1959 she studied at the State School of Design in Stockholm, Sweden. She also studied Sumi-e painting with Japanese and Chinese master artists in the 1980s. Hazel’s career began as an illustrator for the University of Minnesota Press. Her designing experiences include graphic arts, interior and architectural design. As an artist her paintings have been in many exhibitions. Her major works include two murals, one housed in the Green Hall Forestry Building on the U of M’s St. Paul campus, the other in the LignoTech paper company in Rothschild, Wisconsin. In addition to applying her talents to her vibrant career, Hazel brought her vision and keen aesthetic sense to bear on her life at home.
One of her major accomplishments, together with her husband forester Joseph Stoeckeler, was the design and construction of her home in Rhinelander, WI in the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Once completed, Joe and Hazel started a family, having one child Joel Stoeckeler in 1951. They stayed in Rhinelander for the next four years, Hazel caring for her son during the days and teaching extension classes in art in the evenings. Joe’s work with the USDA brought the family back to Minnesota in 1955. Back in St. Paul, Hazel and Joe designed and built another home in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood where Hazel continued her career as a design instructor at the University of Minnesota. Over the years, Hazel also taught in Minneapolis public schools, and at the University of Wisconsin. In the concluding years of her teaching at the university, Hazel conducted research into the aesthetics of an individual’s environment and quality of life. Aside from being an artist and teacher, Hazel will also be remembered as a world traveler. After the death of Joe in 1967, Hazel began traveling the world extensively, through all seven continents, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle. She’s estimated by her family to have visited over 100 countries, many alongside her later-in-life partner Dr. Alvin Weber. Throughout her travels she meticulously collected local art, jewelry, costume, and handicrafts, as well as captured hours of video and photographs, and painted watercolors of many of her destinations. In 2008, she published a book of her watercolors, along with the poetry of Elizabeth Weber, entitled Porthole Views of the World. In her later years, Hazel also continued as a faculty member of Augsburg College, giving lectures in the College of the Third Age, utilizing her extensive slide and video library she’d accumulated from her travels. Hazel was a lifelong learner, and always enjoyed teaching and sharing her perspectives with those around her. She had scrutinizing eyes, a matter-of-fact orientation to the world, impeccable taste, and an unmatched fashion sense. She was always thinking of the future, her eyes trained on the horizon. Her curiosity in the world around her was the central motivation of her truly inspired life. At 103 years old, Hazel passed away on October 7, 2021 of old age with her family at her side. She is survived by her son Dr. Joel Stoeckeler (Jackie Langer), granddaughter Kristen Stoeckeler (Jacqui Boyum) and grandson Erik Stoeckeler (Joelle Jost) and their two children Elijah and Thora. A Celebration of life, will be Sunday October 24th, 2021 from 2pm to 4pm with a service at 4pm at O’Connell Family Funeral Home; 520 11th Street South Hudson, WI 54016. www.oconnellfuneralhomes.com