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1305 N.W. 6th Street
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Hazel I. Hankerson

Hazel I. Hankerson

March 18, 1930 – December 4, 2021



Friday, December 10, 2021-12:00 Noon
Roy Mizell & Kurtz Worship Center
1228 N. W. 6th Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311


Thursday. December 9, 2021
5:00 P. M. – 8:00 P. M.
Roy Mizell & Kurtz Funeral Home
1305 N. W. 6th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311


Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens-Central
499 N. W. 27th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311



Mrs. Hazel Irvine Hankerson was born on March 18, 1930 in Richmond, Kentucky to the late Z.V. and Ella Dudley Irvine.  She grew up with her siblings: Edna, Joseph and James (Buzz), all of whom predeceased her.  She departed this life in the afternoon of December 4, 2021 with her daughter and granddaughter by her side.

In her younger years, she and her family lived in rural Madison County in housing provided by L & N Railroad.  Her dad was a railroad section foreman laying track along railroad routes during the week, and he would return home for the weekend.  The railroad company allowed the family to ride free, so each summer they would take a trip to Cincinnati to visit relatives and visit various tourist attractions such as the zoo.

As she and her siblings reached school age, they would spend weekdays in the city with their grandmother to attend school.  Richmond High and Elementary (formerly Richmond City Colored School) was the only school for African-Americans until Madison County schools were integrated.  Hazel graduated as valedictorian of her class in 1948.

After graduating high school, she followed her brother Joseph to Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton Virginia.  She met Margaret Hill, another elementary education student from Alcoa, Tennessee and they became good friends, such good friends that she introduced Margaret to her brother Joseph.  Soon Margaret and Joseph were married.

Hazel graduated from Hampton Institute in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education.  The placement office at her beloved Hampton found job offers in Florida in Duval or Broward County.  She chose Broward County and began her career as an educator working for Professor Joseph A. Ely in the Fall of 1952 at Attucks Elementary & High School.  At that time all grades were housed on one campus.

After moving to Broward County, Hazel met and married John L. “Jeep” Hankerson in 1955.  To this union one daughter, Beverly, was born. (Jeep passed away in 1995 shortly after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.)

Both Hazel and Jeep continued their learning during their marriage.  In 1962, Hazel received her Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. She was able to go back to Richmond and work on her Masters during the summer because the doors had finally opened to African-Americans.

In 1961 she moved with the elementary students to Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary when it opened. Mr. Nathaniel Hankerson (no kin) was the principal for her entire time at Bethune.    In 1968 she moved to Broward Estates in Fort Lauderdale as the Assistant Principal.  She became the Principal the following year and remained there until 1979.  Her final Principalship was at Oriole Estates in Lauderdale Lakes.  She retired from Broward County Schools in 1985.

The Hankerson family traveled most summers in Kentucky but every now and then they took pleasure trips.  No summer was complete without a stop in Richmond, Kentucky to visit with her parents. In 1966 they took a road trip to California to visit the Joseph Irvine family.  The ride along I-10 was beautiful but took five days, and two of those were spent in Texas.  After leaving San Francisco that year they drove the northern route east to Detroit to see the James (Edna) Finley family.  After retirement, they took trips to Jamaica, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Alaska and many Caribbean cruises.

At an early age Hazel joined First Baptist Church, Richmond Kentucky under the pastorate of Reverend T. A. Bennett. She continued to support her home church with annual contributions until her death.  Upon her marriage to John L. “Jeep” Hankerson in 1955, she joined Mount Olive Baptist Church under the pastorate of Reverend R.H. Lee.  After retirement, she led the Meals on Wheels Ministry at Mount Olive from 1985-1992.  She continued attending church until she was injured in a house fire in November 2019.

Hazel leaves to cherish her memories: daughter, Beverly Hankerson; granddaughter Khadija Nicole Hankerson; a special friend and cousin by marriage, Vidie Hankerson; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.  There are also many former students who remember Mrs. Hankerson for the discipline and wisdom that she imparted.

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