Hazel G. Rowden

1927-2017Rowden, Hazel framed younger version

Hazel G. Rowden died Monday, July 17, 2017 at her home. She was 90.

Named Ruby Hazel Goss at birth, she was the daughter of Albert and Minnie Goss. She was born in the mid-wife’s home just down the road in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later she attended school at Culkin Academy where she actively participated in the marching band, eventually becoming the Drum Majorette.

Mrs. Rowden started teaching school as a substitute teacher when she was still in high school. Upon graduation she received the superintendent’s scholarship to attend teacher’s college. Unfortunately she became extremely ill and eventually moved to Clovis, NM to live with her cousin in a drier climate. It was there that she met and married Theodore Rowden (aka Junior Johnston). A few years later she moved back to Vicksburg and became an elementary school teacher at Culkin Academy. Soon afterwards the music bug took hold and she led their marching band to win several competitions.

When Ted took a job in Oklahoma City, she started teaching at inner city schools. She became active in the Oklahoma Education Association, eventually rising to state treasurer. This brought her to the attention of the County Superintendent and she took a position in his office where she used her experiences to bring shared resources to the schools whose meager budgets inhibited having things like reel-to-reel movies that augmented a lesson. After attending a national teacher’s conference, she brought the newly developed “phonics” program into Oklahoma’s curriculum. Eventually she became moved up to become the Deputy Superintendent of Schools for Oklahoma County. Then in September 1973 the Academy of American Educators selected her as one of the Outstanding Educators in America and her name was listed in “Who’s Who” in American Education in the 70’s.

She is preceded in death by her husband Ted Rowden, her parents and three brothers: Albert Goss, Arthur Goss and Troy Goss; grandsons Johnny Rowden and Luke Martin.

Survivors include three sons: Benny Gene Rowden of Vicksburg, MS; Ted Wayne Rowden of Edmond, OK and David Kerry Rowden of Wichita, KS as well as her sister Nora Jean Beasley of Vicksburg, MS; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson and nieces and nephews.

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