|Born in Shreveport, LA, reared in Mansfield, LA, Hazel Lea attended Mansfield Female Junior College. She served as the first director of the Louisiana Tech Wesley Foundation, and Supervisor of Women at Methodist Home Hospital, New Orleans, where her husband, Rev. Jim Ailor served as Superintendent.
She and Jim were married over fifty years. They have three children, (Bob is deceased), six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Since Jim entered the Louisiana Conference in 1941, they have served churches in Bernice, Dubach, Alabama, Summerfield, Belcher, Gilliam, Montgomery, Zachary, Downsville, Lake Charles, Sun, Bush, Tallisheek, Pearl River, Baton Rouge and Slidell. Hazel Lea was Jim’s chief assistant at the Methodist Home Hospital in New Orleans.
Throughout her husband’s ministry Hazel Lea was involved in the Methodist Women’s units of Jim’s churches. She spent hours in preparation and teaching the many Women’s Society study courses, whether political, Biblical or missions.
Very important was her work throughout Jim’s ministry as personal counselor. Women of the church or community, who came to Hazel Lea either as teacher, counselor or friend, were of all ages, from college years to retired. Hazel Lea’s friendly outgoing ways always made it open-house everywhere they lived. Through all of this Hazel Lea was very much the homemaker, cook, mother and wife…and neighbor.
Among her richest legacies are her writings, -- articles, stories and poems. Her own deep faith and warm love is expressed in her writings in a way that quickens the faith and rekindles the love of her readers. Her writings have been published in “The Christian Home”, “Upper Room Disciplines, 1997”, “Alive Now”, “Images, 1976”, “The White Heron, 1937”, “The Church School Magazine”, “Home Life”, and “Guideposts.” An anthology of her poems and stories are published in her autobiography, In Black and White.
Her poem “The Light Will Come” is not only an example of her gifted writing, but also an expression of her faith and a message to all as we face the experience of death. Although it was dated 1984, it was found by her husband, Jim, only a few months before her death.
THE LIGHT WILL COME
Grimly have I viewed the faces of death,
As, one by one it lures my loves away.
The game I play that mine is endless breath,
Must finally be lost some waiting day.
Yet sometimes in the silences I know,
A warm and caring presence ever waits.
Why should I fear the darkness as I go?
I know the light will come beyond the gates.
Hazel Nowell Ailor
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1994, p. 247 By J. Philip Woodland|