Memorial Service for Charles T. Hazelrigg
Beloved English Professor Dies
Charles T. Hazelrigg ’37 united avocation with vocation
RELEASED: Sept. 6, 2005
DANVILLE, KY Dr. Charles Tabb Hazelrigg ’37, who taught English at Centre College for 43 years, died Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005. He was 90.
Dr. Hazelrigg loved teaching—perhaps even more than the two generations of students he taught loved him. “I have never been to paradise,” he once said, “but to me, when I walked in the classroom . . . it was like heaven.”
A native of Mount Sterling, Ky., Dr. Hazelrigg graduated from Centre in 1937 as valedictorian, then spent a year in Washington, D.C., working for the Library of Congress and studying the additional languages needed for graduate school. He returned briefly to Centre in 1941 as an instructor of English, but had his teaching career interrupted by World War II, which he spent as a Navy lieutenant with service in the Pacific. He rejoined the Centre faculty in 1947, after earning master’s and doctoral degrees at Yale University, and never again roamed far from his alma mater. He retired in 1981 as Matton Professor Emeritus of English, noting in his commencement address that year that his “chief joy in life has been lecturing to Centre College students.” Unable to leave his students completely, he returned part time to the classroom, retiring for a second time in 1989.
In addition to teaching British and American literature, Shakespeare, and the 20th-century American novel, Dr. Hazelrigg served as chair of the English department and later as first chair of the humanities division, one of three academic divisions at the College. He also coached men’s tennis in the 1950s and early 1960s, including the undefeated 1952 team, and was the faculty advisor to student publications. He was active in the community as well, serving at various times as president of the Danville Rotary Club, chair of the Boyle County Red Cross, and elder in the First Christian Church in Danville. In 1952 he was named Outstanding Citizen of Danville and Boyle County, and in 1955 the Danville Jaycees named him Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
He wrote American Literary Pioneer (Bookman Associates, 1953) about the 19th-century poet James A. Hillhouse, and was co-editor of a grammar book.
Dr. Hazelrigg devoted his life to the College, which in return bestowed on him just about every honor possible. The Centre Alumni Association gave him an Alumni Recognition Award in 1971. Centre’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa named him an alumnus member. In 1981, he received the student-given Hughes Award for teaching as well as an honorary degree from Centre. A scholarship fund to honor him was established in 1981 by his many friends and former students. In 1997, Board Chair David Grissom ’60 established the Hazelrigg Professorship in Humanities. Most recently, the brand-new recreational gym in Sutcliffe was named for him.
In a letter to then-Sen. Wendell Ford (D-Ky.) about a proposed retirement bill, Dr. Hazelrigg chose lines from the American poet Robert Frost to explain his feelings about his own career:
Dr. Hazelrigg is survived by his wife, Margie Hedrick Hazelrigg ’43; a daughter, Anne Hazelrigg Kerbaugh; and eight grandchildren, Dorothy Marie “Dee” Hazelrigg, Charles Tabb Hazelrigg III, Robert Hazelrigg, Kathleen Dillard "Katy" Peterson, Julia Tabb Peterson, Mary Quinn Kerbaugh Ramer ’98, Simms Kerbaugh, and Martha Kerbaugh. His son, C. Tabb Hazelrigg Jr., died in 1995.
Services will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the First Christian Church (555 East Lexington Avenue, Danville). Visitation will be after 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the First Christian Church. There is a guestbook at www.legacy.com.
For a tribute to Dr. Hazelrigg by his English colleague Milton Reigelman, please click here.
To submit your own recollection of Dr. Hazelrigg, please e-mail: email@example.com
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