Hazel Marie (Tate) PoteatApril 14, 1933 ~ October 5, 2017 (age 84)
A Godly Woman
Hazel, from a very young age, gave her life to God and became a member of Sweet Gum Grove Missionary Baptist Church. She spent over seventy years being a servant of God, not only at Sweet Gum but across America. She attended Worship Service, Sunday School and Bible Study faithfully. Most of all, she studied and lived according to the Scriptures. She truly enjoyed discussing Scriptures with her dad, brother and friend, John Blackwell. She was Godly in the numerous acts of kindness, boldly speaking the truth, being loyal and loving to many, and giving a helping hand to the needy.
A Caring Family Member and Friend
Hazel was the one her family and friends went to when trouble or needs arose. She was the one who took care of family and friends. Everyone in her community knew who to go to when they needed advice or help. Hazel got it naturally. She was born into a family of “givers”. She was born in Alamance County near the Caswell County line. Her dad, Rev. Jack Tate and her mom, Mother Claudia Bigelow Tate, were active members of Sweet Gum and parents at Pleasant Grove School. Thus, Hazel and her family became active also. Hazel was the second child of Rev. and Mother Tate. Her older brother, Chairman of Deacons at Sweet Gum, was Al Junius Tate who married Dorine Thorpe. They had three children, James Alvin (deceased), Cheryl Denise Freeland (Donnell) and Leonard Tyrone both of Burlington, NC. Hazel’s younger sister, Frances married the late Richard Barry. They had two daughters, Lisa Barry Black (Michael) and Gail Barry. Lisa and Gail spent their childhood years with Hazel every summer. Frances later married John J. Edwards, Jr (deceased). Hazel has two grand-nieces: Gabriella Black and Kristen Wheeley and one grand-nephew Hassan Freeland. Hazel married her childhood sweetheart, Theodis “Ted” Poteat (deceased). She also had a dear, attentive and supportive friend, John Blackwell, for over fifteen years.
A Dedicated Educator
Hazel always loved to learn. She graduated from Pleasant Grove High School as valedictorian. She continued her education at North Carolina Central University and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Education. She also received two Master’s Degrees in Business Education and Counseling and Guidance. She retired after thirty-eight years as a Guidance Counselor with the Alamance-Burlington School System. She was admired by her students and their parents. They expressed love for her because of her diligent efforts to get thousands into colleges and universities. Many students also admired her because she drove a speedy convertible corvette. She owned three over the years. Just recently, a parent expressed her love for her, voicing that Hazel assisted in getting her three daughters into universities and that one daughter is now a principal in Charlotte. There are hundreds of similar stories.
A Dynamic Leader
Again, Hazel gave her best service. Her work and service at Sweet Gum speaks volumes. Until her health declined, members came to her for advice, help, counseling, support and for numerous other reasons. She served as an officer or member of the following: Capital Campaign, Missionary, Personnel. By-Laws, Women Ministry, Membership, Program, Treasurer, Human Services to mention a few. She also initiated many auxiliaries. Her service was evident in the Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Association where she served as Recording and Corresponding Secretary, Trustee and Treasurer. She ran for the North Carolina State Senate. She was a member and served as President, Vice President and Treasurer of the Reidsville/Greensboro Club of Business and Professional Women, Inc. Hazel was a member of Pi Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority where she also served as President. She also served as President of the Caswell County NAACP for sixteen years causing many improvement changes in the structure of Caswell County. For this, she received a Trailblazer Award. As many have voiced, Hazel was a servant for God and mankind. We were blessed to have known her.