Hazel Elizabeth (Edwards) Fankhanel passed away on Sunday, April 23, 2023, in the loving arms of her family at the age of 96 ¾, just three months shy of her 97th birthday. Hazel was born on July 23, 1926, to William and Marie (Evert) Edwards in rural Wolverton, MN, where she and her siblings grew up and worked on the family farm.
She attended the rural farm Koester school and graduated from Wolverton High School with honors as Valedictorian. After high school, Hazel worked in various offices for Ford Motor Co., Standard Oil and Amoco. She also attended and graduated from North Dakota Business College in Fargo, ND. Hazel lived in Fargo, Moorhead, California, Sabin, MN, their lake Lida home near Pelican Rapids, MN, and spent winters in Mesa, AZ. Later, in life, as an older student, Hazel went back to college at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She graduated with honors in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a teaching degree. Hazel married John F. “Jack” Fankhanel in 1954, at the age of 29. He passed away in October of 2008, at the age of 77.
They were married for almost 54 years. Jack and Hazel lived most of their lives in Sabin, MN, in the home they built themselves. They owned a family business in Sabin called Fankhanel Oil Co./Jack’s C-Store. It was a gas station, convenience store, car wash as well as a gas + fuel delivery service with semi-trucks for farm and other station fuel deliveries and smaller trucks for home fuel deliveries. Hazel helped her husband, Jack, in their family business for 40 years, when they retired and sold their Amoco station and C-Store business in the late 1990’s. Hazel did the bookkeeping and billing.
Hazel was a wife to Jack, and a proud mother of fraternal twin daughters, Deborah and Patricia whom they adopted in 1958 at the age of three months, grandmother of six, great-grandmother of 14, and four step-great-grandchildren.
Hazel never sought accolades but unknowingly developed long lasting friendships and a long legacy with her large family. She was a good example to all. She was an exceptional host, excellent cook baker plus her flowers, plants, gardens, were beautiful and bountiful, producing fresh fruits and vegetables. Hazel shared her talents of gardening and baking with many friends, neighbors, and family, as well as church functions, events, and reunions. The holiday fudge, peanut brittle, other goodies, and pumpkin pies were a welcomed tradition each year for all. Hazel was a great host and entertained company with many wonderful meals and always had a relaxing glass of wine to go with it. She was also an excellent seamstress and loved ironing, playing piano and singing, but Hazel and Jack’s favorite hobbies were golfing and bowling.
She taught Sunday school and was active in the church with Women’s Guild and circles working many church bazaars, weddings, funerals, Lenten services and events at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sabin, MN. This was the home church where she was a lifetime member.
In retirement, Hazel and Jack spent many years of winters in Mesa, AZ, and summers at their Lida lake home near Pelican Rapids. After Jack passed away, she made her home in Moorhead. For the past seven years or so she lived in an assisted living and then nursing home in Pelican Rapids. During Covid 19, she lived with one her twin daughters, Patty Dahl, on Crystal Lake.
Hazel Fankhanel is survived by her two daughters, Deborah (Robert) Lohse of Fargo, ND, Patricia (Robert) Dahl of Pelican Rapids, MN; six grandchildren, Natalie (Troy) Brownlee, Olivia Babolian, Christopher (Amanda) Dahl, Michael Dahl, Emily (Jellay) Welder, Julia (Brandon) Morsching; 14 great-grandchildren, Brooke Larsen, Jordan (Callie) Larsen, Elizabeth and Gaven Babolian, Cayden Aarseth, Hayden, Charlotte and William Dahl, Macy, Aubrey and Kloe Welder, and Leilyn and Decker Morsching; four step-great-grandchildren, Zack, Justice, TJ and Mackenzie Brownlee. She is also survived by her sisters, Dorothy Brakke and Beatrice Iken; and sister-in-law, Lorraine Edwards.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John “Jack” Fankhanel; great-granddaughter, Taylor Babolian; parents, William and Marie Edwards; brother, Dennis Edwards; sisters, Margaret Thompson and Lorraine Brakke; brothers-in-law, Steven Thompson, Jr., Orris Brakke, Robert Iken, Donald Brakke and Edward Sellent, Sr.; sister-in-law, Barbara Sellent; and two nephews, Edward Sellent, Jr. And James Sellent.
Memorials will be given to Pelican Valley Senior Living and the American Heart Association.
Visitation will be Friday, April 28, from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., with funeral service beginning at 11:00 a.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church, Sabin, MN.
Interment will follow at Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery, Sabin, MN.