Remembering Professor Hazelrigg, part two
RELEASED: Sept. 22, 2005
DANVILLE, KYDr. Charles Tabb Hazelrigg '37, who taught English at Centre College for 43 years, died Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005. He was 90. Here, in the second of two parts, his students, colleagues and friends remember his charm, courtesy and passion.
The first day I was ever in Dr. Hazelrigg's presence was the opening class of “Intro to Poetry” my freshman year. Calling the roll, he said my name, asked what my hometown was, and then asked: “Is your father Monk Lucas?"
"Yes," I said.
Dr. Hazelrigg, with a pause for effect: "I never did like him."
And then Charlie went on to explain, good-naturedly, that the only thing he didn't like about my father was how instrumental he had been, as a star guard for Georgetown College's basketball team, in a number of Centre College basketball defeats. So you can see that Charlie had my full attention from the beginning. I hung on his every word the rest of that term, and read all those poems backwards and forwards to try to keep up with him. He could tell how hard I was trying and encouraged me for the rest of my careerfirst as a Centre English major and then later as his colleague in the department. And his encouragement always had that remarkable personal touch he showed in the first moment he ever heard my name.
Mark Lucas '75, Jobson Professor of English
My first year as a soccer coach at Centre we won our first game. Two days later came a card with a newspaper article on the game, congratulating the team and me for a nice start. The note came from this man Charlie Hazelrigg whom I had never met…. It didn't take long to establish a memorable relationship with Charlie.
Brian E. Chafin, director of athletics and recreation
I was fortunate enough to take Dr. Hazelrigg's British Literature course during my sophomore year. As a biology major, it was the only one of his classes I managed to gain entry to during my four years. While I have vivid memories of particular readings, conferences about papers, his Christmas vest, etc., what I remember most clearly was his obvious love of teaching, his students and this College.
My favorite personal story about Dr. Hazelrigg, however, took place more than 20 years after I had him for that one class and he had long-since finally retired. I had submitted a letter to the editor of the newspaper here in Danville. On the evening it appeared in the newspaper, I got a telephone call just as my family was finishing dinner. The caller was Dr. Hazelrigg, who telephoned just to let me know that he was proud of me for writing a well-crafted letter. It was only a very brief conversation, but one I will never forget.
Shawn Lyons '81, associate vice president of development and alumni affairs
Every once in a while, in the middle of a workday, I would answer the phone, to be greeted by the sounds of a beautiful sonnet or poem and Dr. Hazelrigg's wonderful voice. It was always such an unexpected treat. He enjoyed making others happy by sharing the literature that he so loved. On occasion, though, he'd quote a limerick for mesomething humorous and fun and equally unexpected. I'll miss the sound of his voice.
Dr. Hazelrigg also told me once that I'd written one of the best articles he'd ever seen in a Centre publication. For our first capital campaign, I wrote an article tracing the careers of the recipients of one of our scholarship fundsand he was one of the recipients of this scholarship as a student. While I think the fact that he was the subject of the article may have swayed him more than my writing abilities, it made me feel that I'd gotten an "A" from him, and that has been very important to me.
Mona Wyatt, director of donor relations and parent programs
When I first joined the Rotary Club of Danville, there was this very friendly man who, after lunch and before the meeting started, went from table to table shaking the hands and welcoming each member personally. His outgoing acceptance of me, a new member and stranger to the club, made me feel welcomed and comfortable. This man had a genuine way of making all members and visitors feel as they have known him for years.
In the brief conversation that was included with each handshake I eventually discovered that he and I worked for Centre. We became friends instantly, which lasted for the years that followed.
When Dr. Hazelrigg became wheelchair-bound, he still found the time and energy to attend Rotary meetings. I always made it a point to stop by his table, shake his hand, and compliment his appearance or the clothes he was wearing or just offer him a comment that would bring a smile to his face. I would do the same when I saw him at the Norton Center and comment on the show we were about to see.
In a small way I felt I was giving back the warmth he showed me over the years. I got to know his wife over the last few years as she accompanied him to those outings where I saw him. At times, she would have to remind Dr. Hazelrigg who that man was that welcomed him with a friendly handshake and comment. Dr. Hazelrigg is a fine gentleman whom I will miss.
Jerry Meyer, director of facilities management
Dr. Hazelrigg meant tremendous things to many people, and he etched his mark on the hearts and lives of countless students, colleagues and friends. I count myself fortunate to be one of them. I had the rare privilege of being allowed to call him "Uncle Charlie," as he was my godfather. Mrs. Hazelrigg was (is) always referred to and addressed as "Aunt Margie" by my brother and myself, even though we are not blood relations.
When my father, the late Dr. Paul L. Cantrell, professor of English at Centre for 40 years, arrived in Danville for an interview about a position that was open at Centre in 1949, Dr. Hazelrigg met him at the bus station to escort him to campus. I think they became instant friends, and they enjoyed a wonderful, close relationship that is well known on campus. Surely God must have put them together for a special reason. They were both powerful and inspiring teachers and Centre College legends. They also shared common characteristics of an infectious smile, sharp sense of humor, and a twinkle in their eyes. My dad would admit, though, that Dr. Hazelrigg was a much better dancer!
Saturday morning came every week and my dad mysteriously disappeared from the house. He had a ritual to keep. He was "out with the boys," as my mother would say. A couple of times I was invited to go to the ABC Grill or to wherever Dr, Hazelrigg, Dr. Newhall, my dad and others might meet that week. Another rare privilege. Many times there were poker or hearts gatherings at our house that Dr. Hazelrigg and other notable Centre card sharks would attend. I had to go to bed early.
"Uncle Charlie," and "Aunt Margie" were especially loving and kind to me. They always checked on me when I was ill, sent many years' worth of birthday and Christmas gifts, and when there were happenings at my house that meant I needed a sitter, I was sent to the Hazelrigg's house. This was fine with me, for not only did they have the coolest den I was ever in, we would always go out to eat at Jerry's and I got the same thing every time: a plate of spaghetti, a chocolate shake and a stomachache. Those were the glory days!
When my father died in 2000, I feared only one daythe day Dr. Hazelrigg would pass away. It would mean that an age had really ended at Centre and in my life, and it seemed almost too much for me to bear. Now that they are both gone I realize that as long as Centre thrives, then, in a sense, these great men live, for they gave their lives so it would continue and prosper, and their professorships keep them spoken well of year after year.
As long as Centre does well, then Dr. Hazelrigg still dances ... in the peaceable kingdom.
Clay M. Cantrell
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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