When Hazel Marie Hauck was born on July 15, 1900, in Seattle, Washington, her father, David Albert Hauck, was 37 and her mother, Temperance Elizabeth “Lizzie” Van Hooser, was 30. David was an older brother of my great-grandfather, John Edward Hauck.
Hazel had one brother, Floyd, who died at the age of 20, and one sister, Erma Ruth, who lived in sunny California with her husband and family until her passing in 1981. Hazel’s dad was a public school principal in Kansas before relocating to Seattle with his wife Lizzie. I had heard stories of admiration of my Aunt Hazel from my dad and Aunt Faye. I knew she had earned her Ph.D. and was on the faculty of Cornell University but there was so much more I found out about her life with a little research. Below is a tribute written by three of her colleagues from Cornell after her death at the age of 64 which reveals quite a bit about her travels, career and her dedication to serving others. This is especially meaningful to me to see one of my female ancestors, not just my male relatives, making a mark on the world.
The death of Dr. Hazel M. Hauck, Professor Emeritus of Food and Nutrition, brought to a close the active career of a distinguished member of the Cornell University Faculty. Miss Hauck served in the Department of Food and Nutrition in the New York State College of Home Economics for twenty-nine years, and was a member of the Faculty of the Graduate School of Nutrition from the time of its establishment in 1941 until her retirement in 1961. Her scholarly teaching, her contributions to research in human nutrition, and her international services in Thailand and Nigeria are widely recognized. She was a member of many college and University committees and a member of the board of Cornell United Religious Work; she was secretary of the University Faculty for three years.
Miss Hauck came to Cornell as Assistant Professor in 1932 from the University of Wisconsin, where she had received her Ph.D. degree in 1932 with a major in nutrition and a minor in medical science. She was promoted to the rank of full Professor in 1936. Before her appointment at Cornell she taught at the universities of Oregon, North Dakota, Washington, and Tennessee. She was a fellow of the American Public Health Association and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was a representative of the American Dietetic Association in the latter organization. She held membership in Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Nu, and Pi Lambda Theta. Soon after her appointment to the Faculty Miss Hauck began the first human dietary studies conducted at the College of Home Economics. These studies contributed significantly to the understanding of human requirements for ascorbic acid, and were used by the National Research Council in establishing recommended dietary allowances.
Her nutrition and diet therapy courses were of major importance in the undergraduate teaching program, and her graduate courses were among the first taught at the College. Graduate students who worked under her direction hold positions of leadership in many countries. Though Miss Hauck’s standards were high, she never failed to recognize the potentialities of her students and always won their respect. In 1961 the students of the College voted her the distinguished professor of the year. She followed the careers of her students with genuine interest and was the first of the College Faculty to be elected to honorary membership in the College of Home Economics Alumnae Association in recognition of her continuing friendship with graduates.
Miss Hauck always sought to put the fruits of her scholarship to practical use in furthering human welfare, and her talent in finding means to do so was apparent in her own work in foreign countries and in the training of others for this same work. Especially noteworthy was her work with missionaries who came to Cornell under the auspices of Agricultural Missions Incorporated. In the spring of 1961 this organization presented her with a certificate for distinguished service in recognition of her twenty-eight years of Christian service to rural people. The citation read in part: “The hundreds of rural missionaries who profited by your friendship and your professional knowledge so graciously shared are serving in over forty different countries.” She was one of the first of the Faculty of the College of Home Economics to take a foreign assignment. In 1952- 1953, under a Fulbright grant, she served as nutrition specialist for the Cornell-in-Thailand project under the leadership of Lauriston Sharp. Her work involved a systematic investigation of the food habits of the people in Bang Chan, a rural rice village. The study she conducted of the food supply and nutritional status of the people resulted in dietary recommendations of particular help to mothers and children, and led to further research in ways to improve the health of rural Thai.
In 1959-1960 she served as field consultant with the village improvement and leadership training program of the Unitarian Service Committee in Awo Amamma, Eastern Nigeria. In her experiments with 125 Ibo families, she was instrumental in demonstrating how they might incorporate into their diet a native and inexpensive food, the groundnut, which would increase the supply of those nutrients most lacking in the foods they normally consume. Her way of working with women as they prepared meals for their families demonstrated an effective technique for others to use in continuing education in nutrition.
Miss Hauck felt the importance of making her research findings available to others in the fields of nutrition and health. Her many articles appeared not only in American professional journals but also in such publications as the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics and African Child Health, the West African Medical Journal, and the Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology of the British Commonwealth. Soon after her return from Nigeria she became ill. Most of the data she had collected had to be prepared for publication under health restrictions, which would have made the task impossible for the average person, but with the valiant courage that was evident throughout her illness she brought her studies to completion.
In the memorial service held for Miss Hauck a young Nigerian educator from Awo Amamma, now studying in Ithaca, paid tribute to her as a worker among his people. As he described her work in remote villages, one realized again her courage, her understanding of how to work with groups struggling to develop better practices in nutrition, sanitation, and family welfare, her natural and unassuming empathy with these people. “Know you not,” he said, “that a great person has passed away from us.”
Prepared by: Helen H. Gifft, Esther H. Stocks, Kathryn E. Walker