Burton Garth Hazelbaker was born in Grangeville, Idaho on January 10, 1928 to Elmer (Dutch) Hazelbaker and Myrtle Squibb. He joined three sisters: Ruth, Norma and Mildred. His mother died 1 ½ years after his birth. Dutch married Flora Sotin in 1934 and the family gained three stepbrothers (Lewis, Jack and Larry Sotin) and a half brother, Robert Hazelbaker.
Burt attended several grade schools on Camas Prairie and entered high school at Kooskia after the family bought the Lacey Place on Wall Creek. The boys would walk to Harpster and catch the bus to Stites and Kooskia. Burt earned a letter in boxing his sophomore year. During those school years he met his future wife, Angele Kidder.
Burt moved to Moscow to live with his sister, Mildred and attended Moscow High School. He worked summers farming and driving trucks in Pullman, WA for Carl Boyd. Before he graduated Mildred moved away so Burt went back to Wall Creek. Soon after, he turned 18 years old and was drafted into the Army. While in a Combat Engineer Battalion he worked as a “grease monkey” and a fireman at Ft Lewis, WA and Fort Campbell, KY.
After a year of service (1947), he came back to Idaho County and started his career in mill work at Everett Cox’s sawmill on the South Fork of the Clearwater River. He “batched” with Ed Altman until May 19, 1950 when he married Angele Kidder. Burt worked at the Harpster mill and all the mills in Grangeville during his career. He retired as a skilled forklift operator February 1, 1993. Burt was a master steelhead fisherman on Salmon River. He was a wily, white-tailed buck hunter and filled his tag every year even before the season extended into the rut. He was a fine shot.
In retirement, Burt perfected his fly fishing, carved wood, gardened and played mandolin, traveling with Angele to many “Jam Sessions”. He was the biggest fan for his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He carved 300 wooden images and animals using many homemade tools and native wood—they are masterpieces. He was part of “The Kidders” music group and played at area nursing homes and assisted living facilities for over 50 years.
Burt was into fitness. He exercised and ran until his knee started giving him trouble. He and Angele were well known for their daily walks around Grangeville. In May 2021, the couple were severely injured crossing a street while on their morning walk. Angele died and he was unable to continue living at home. Reluctantly, he moved to the Idaho State Veterans Home in Lewiston. He was a resident for 1 ½ years until November 8, 2022. He was 94 years of age. It’s the end of a legend for his family.
Burt was preceded in death by his wife, Angele (71 years); his parents; three sisters (Ruth Mattson, Norma Pierson and Mildred Bormuth), 3 stepbrothers (Lewis, Jack and Larry Sotin) and his half-brother, Bob Hazelbaker.
He is survived by his son, Nick (Norma Staaf); daughter, Lark Hall (Dick); two grandchildren: Brandon Hall (Amy) and Chelsey Hall; 3 great grandchildren (Quinn, Emma and Piper Hall).
At his request there will be no service and cremation has taken place. The family plans a memorial event next spring. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com.