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MEEKER I Many pioneer families made their start in the beautiful, yet harsh, Lime Kiln region south of Meeker. One family, the Kirkpatricks, endured some of the toughest times in the area.
Hazel Kirkpatrick Rosenlund’s story begins in a log cabin on Water Street in Meeker. With the help of her son Gene and wife Karla Rosenland, along with her daughter Cheryl and husband Dave, details of a life rich in history are unfolded.
Hazel was born in 1920 to Flora Eato Seaton Kirkpatrick and John Logan Kirkpatrick. The Kirkpatricks came to Meeker from Grand Valley and lived in a dugout on the south side of the highway, literally a hole supported by cedar posts in the side of a small hill. Through the years, Hazel’s father hauled freight, mined coal and delivered it for $1.50 a ton, farmed, and worked at the lime kilns. He was involved with the process of getting the mortar, or lime, that was used in the original grade school.
Hazel had two older brothers. Albert was born in 1910 and Charlie was born in 1912. Charlie was only 2 when he lost his life to what a Glenwood doctor believed to be pneumonia. He suffered from an extremely high fever and was placed in an ice bath to try to bring his temperature down. Albert acquired typhoid fever when he was young. In approximately 1916 the family moved to Lime Kiln. They came to town during the winter as the weather was extreme.
During their time in town, Hazel was born in a small log cabin near the river. She attended the Lime Kiln School during her elementary and middle school years. Her teacher was Eleanor Service.
Hazel was graduated from high school in Meeker and immediately started working for the Rio Blanco County Clerk and Recorder following high school. She married Dick Rosenlund, who had come to Meeker in 1928. His family were some of the county’s original sheep ranchers. He worked for the county, was a mechanic and did some carpentry work. He had spent some time in the sheep business and his father and uncle had a place near Rio Blanco Lake as well as a ranch up Coal Creek, which is still in Bert Rosenlund’s family via Dorothy (Harvey) Rosenlund.
Dick suffered a debilitating injury in the early 1950s and Hazel distributed newspapers for the Denver Post before opening a Montgomery Ward store where Jewell Kindler’s salon is now.
Hazel was awarded small diamonds from the state office for being the most improved agent statewide. She received this award three years in a row, proving she was a quality businesswoman. She ran the store for about 15 years.
She was committed to, and passionate about, service work in the community. She served in the Cub Scouts as a den mother or leader for 10 years, and remained involved even after retirement. She would host meetings and provide snacks for the kids participating. She was very active in genealogy and donated time to help people in town trace their own genealogy. She worked diligently to help straighten out records at the cemetery. She helped with the woolgrowers’ banquet for several years, and spent several years caring for Dorothy Kirkpatrick, allowing her to stay at her home for several years. She was a “Rebecca” when the two organizations existed for men and women in the 1960s and ‘70s. She was an avid quilter.
Hazel has lived in Meeker her entire life except a 10-year stint in Utah and three years in Arizona. She currently resides at the Walbridge Wing. She has two children and six grandchildren.
Hazel was born in a time and place where hard work and perseverance were essential for survival. Her parents obviously had tremendous tenacity to endure the challenges of the Lime Kiln area, yet the community there provided support appreciated and understood by those courageous enough to call the area home.
Hazel’s passion for history has been handed down to her children and the care and respect they have given in her latter years is heartwarming proof of the mother she is. Hazel is yet another example of a story that needs to be told, warranting at the very least recognition for 92 years of strength and service.