Thamon Edson Hazen, Professor Emeritus of Iowa State University Department of Agricultural Engineering and former Assistant Dean of Agriculture, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 30, at Northcrest Community in Ames, Iowa, at age 91 with his daughters by his side.
Thamon Hazen, the youngest of seven children, was born in Stillwater, OK, on March 8, 1927, to Leslie Eugene and Ella Ve (Brooks) Hazen. He graduated from high school in Stillwater at age 16 and attended Oklahoma State University, following his dad and two brothers’ footsteps by majoring in Agricultural Engineering. His dad was head of the Ag Engineering department and gave Thamon one of the only C's he ever received in a class. He enlisted in the Navy in 1945 and served for two years. He returned to Oklahoma State and graduated with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. He married the love of his life and wife of 68 years, Mary Jane Waldron on February 6, 1949. He received his master’s degree from Purdue University. In 1952 after teaching and researching for two years at the University of Arkansas, Thamon, Mary Jane and their two young daughters moved to Ames, Iowa, where he received his Ph.D. in 1956. Until the spring of 1973, he taught in the Agricultural Engineering Department at ISU. His joy was working with his many graduate students from all over the world. In 1973, he accepted the position of Assistant Dean of Agriculture, where he remained until his retirement in June of 1987.
Thamon, through his work at Iowa State, was one of the early developers of hog confinement structures in the 1950’s and 60’s. Iowa State holds two patents for his work in this area. His family has many vivid memories of him coming home from the research station smelling much like the animals with which he was working. Professionally, he received many prestigious awards and honors for his work in Agricultural Engineering, but he was always too humble to mention or dwell on them. Among them include Fulbright Fellowships, one in Os, Norway, and the other in Brazil, the Gamma Sigma Delta Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, and the Metal Building Manufacturers’ Association National Award, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Award of Appreciation.
His favorite pastime in his younger years was working on his cars. Many weekends were spent under the car, tinkering. The sons-in-law would often leave their keys on the kitchen table at night and casually mention that their cars had a strange noise. They would wake up the next morning and Thamon would already be underneath their cars, fixing whatever was wrong.
Thamon loved his family most of all, and anything Iowa State or Oklahoma State. Together, the family played all kinds of board games and card games whenever we were together. In later years, many spirited games of Trivial Pursuits with men vs. women were played anytime the family gathered. He and Mary Jane were avid football and basketball fans, holding season tickets to ISU games for many years.
Together they traveled to all 50 states, Norway, northern Europe, and Brazil. Golfing and bowling were lifelong pursuits. Fond memories are of the day he hit a hole-in-one on the Iowa State Veenker Memorial Golf Course and of his 750 series in bowling. In retirement, they both loved golfing and Faculty Men’s and Women’s League bowling. They were active volunteers with the foreign students at ISU, Special Olympics, Collegiate Methodist, and many other civic organizations.
Thamon was an active member of Kiwanis International, serving as President of the Ames chapter, and he belonged to many professional engineering and academic societies.
He was close to his brothers and sisters, and we all enjoyed many trips and visits with the aunts, uncles, and cousins and many witty letters and conversations were shared among them over the years.
After retiring from ISU, Thamon enjoyed repairing watches and clocks. He fixed clocks all over the Iowa State campus and the Memorial Union, as well as antique clocks of friends and relatives. He personally built many clocks and gave them away. Never would he take any payment for his work. He just loved the challenge and the joy it gave him to see other’s family heirloom clocks and watches restored to working order.
In 1998, Thamon and Mary Jane moved to Talequah, OK, where they enjoyed eight years of retirement near their families in Oklahoma. They returned to Ames to live at Northcrest in 2006. Northcrest residents and caring staff have been like a second family to them and we are grateful.
Thamon leaves a large legacy of love, humility, kindness, gentleness, and generosity. He joyfully shared his time, his skills, his resources, and his intellect with all with whom he associated.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his step-mom, Mattie (Craig) Hazen, his wife, Mary Jane, his brothers Durion, Tzerlos, Gretzlyn and Arlon; his sisters Xerlan and Vo, and his great-grandson, Elijah Carlson. He is survived by his daughters and their spouses, Ella Vee (Jeff) Sage and Mary Elizabeth (Tim) Frank; six grandchildren, Nathan (Dawn) Carlson, Katie (Josh) Weber, Thad Carlson, Kelsey (Craig) McInroy, Erin (Al) Schuweiler, and Joel (Leah) Frank; great-grandchildren Isaiah, Chloe, Dominik, Isabella, Mallory, Nola, Quinn, Mia, Kiah, Hazen, Annaleigh, Zephan; two step-granddaughters, Kim Sage and Lindy (Paul) Krafft; five step-great-grandchildren Jayden, Amanda, Nicholas, Matthew, and Ryan; two step-great-great grandchildren Maeson and Kyler, and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed in Thamon's name to the Northcrest Foundation Fox Family Professional Development Scholarship Fund, 1801 20th Street, Ames, IA 50010, or to the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Excellence Fund (#0213522), ISU Foundation, at www.foundation.iastate.edu.