In Memory: Pat Hazel

Dear friends, it is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of a long-time friend of Trinity Center. 

Pat_HazelJoseph Patrick (“Pat”) Hazel, 78, died October 1, 2011, after a 52-year struggle with diabetes. Pat was a priest and devout Christian, a fervent Democrat, a lawyer, a professor at the University of Texas and Harvard, and a lover of people and life. People often said of him, “Pat Hazel is the best man I have ever known.”

Pat Hazel was born on August 18, 1933, to Michael F. Hazel and Glenna Gillespie Hazel. Because his mother died when Pat was three months old, he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Allie and Jack Gillespie. He graduated at 16 from White Oak High School, where he played for the championship White Oak Roughnecks. He went to Tulane University on a football scholarship, and his roommate there was Max McGee. In 1954, he was called to become a Roman Catholic priest and in 1956, he was sent to North American College in Rome to study at the Gregorian University. He was ordained in 1959 and returned to serve the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth in 1960. Pat resigned his pastoral position in 1967 and earned a law degree from the University of Texas, where he graduated with high honors. He practiced law with Broadus Spivey and Bob Gibbens and spent three decades teaching at the UT School of Law, where he developed the trial advocacy program and won many national awards and honors. Several generations of Texas attorneys claim Pat Hazel as their favorite law professor.

In 2001, Pat Hazel was received as a priest in the Episcopal Church, serving at St. David’s until his death. His special focus was the homeless of Austin; he celebrated the Eucharist with them regularly at St. David’s Trinity Center service, and they knew he loved and cared for them.

Pat met Nanneska (Nan) Nall Hazel in 1997; they had 15 ½ years of marriage—not near long enough. His brothers, Michael V. Hazel of Dallas and J. Stephen Hazel and Mary Dees of Kansas City, and his nephew Michael and wife Diane and niece Sara and fiance Dan Goldhamer, also celebrate Pat’s life. Pat was a father and grandfather to Chris and Amy Magee, Owen, Ella, and Will of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and Ted and Nicole Magee and Alma of Austin Texas, and to Teresa Hammett and her daughter Olivia of Atlanta, Georgia, and to Nicholas Hammett III and his wife and children, and to Nicholas IV of Austin.

Pat was famous for his enthusiastic but artless dancing; his love of travel; his famous court cases. some of which he won; his regrettable biscuits and gravy; his ability to speak Latin, Italian, Spanish and to sound as if he were speaking French; his spiritual wisdom and generosity; his winter teaching stints at Harvard Law School; his perfect mimicry of old-time border radio (“Friends, for just $2.39–that’s cash, check, or money order–you can get a genuine autographed picture of Jesus!”); and his love for Nan. Friends and family will gather at a reception at 5:00 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church on Friday, October 7, 2011, and a celebration of Pat’s life at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin at 10:00 am on October 8, 2011. Contact Weed Corley Fish Funeral Home for details.

Pat, a boisterous Longhorn fan, would appreciate having his celebration take place on the day of the UT-Oklahoma game—but in the morning so that he can watch the game. We hold him tightly always in our hearts.

Pat’s family has generously designated Trinity Center as a site of giving in memory of him. We thank them for their generosity, their support of Trinity Center, and send our best wishes in this time of loss.



Father Pat and the Neighbors

By Doug Bell, Trinity Center Founding Member

It was always a special Sunday afternoon when Father Pat Hazel served at Trinity Center. He could talk to the homeless men and women at our weekly service like no other priest. They trusted him and believed his message. His sincerity and love always came through.

The neighbors never really knew what a scholar he was nor what an impressive resume he had. None of them knew he was a law professor, or that he studied in Rome, or that he spoke several languages fluently. (However, he did speak Spanish to those who couldn’t speak English.) They just knew he would bring joy and hope to this little congregation on Trinity Street. Father Pat could talk to every person in the room in a way that made them understand that he cared about them. He was happy. He was fun. He brought hospitality with him. The homilies that he preached made sense to the neighbors at Trinity Center. They could relate to the Bible verses that he examined in the short sermons. He explained the Bible message in a way that could be felt in the heart as well as the mind.

Music was very important to Father Pat. He was a fun-loving guy with a big smile. When he got the chance he would ask the piano player to play something lively. He liked a good down-home hymn that you stand up and sing. Hand clapping was something he always liked to do. One of his favorite hymns was “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, and you can’t sing that without clapping. Father Pat would lead that song with a big smile as he danced behind the altar, and most everyone stood up and joined in with him.

Father Pat Hazel was a great force of love at Trinity Center. The neighbors could feel it. The volunteers could sense it. He was dedicated to the Trinity Streets Sunday service, and he was always there when called. Near the end he would arrive in his wheel chair lovingly pushed by his wonderful wife, Nan. When Father Pat was at Trinity Center God was smiling down on folks who shouldn’t have hope, but they do. Father Pat brought them hope and loved them unconditionally.

He will be missed by us all.