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Know the West

Hazel Wolf: She made it

  Hazel Wolf died in Port Angeles, Wash., on Jan. 24 at the age of 101. Wolf, a lifelong activist for social justice and the environment (HCN, 11/9/98: Wise words from a veteran activist), once told author Studs Terkel that she wanted to live to see the year 2000. "Then I'm going," she said.

Wolf, a native of British Columbia, moved to the United States in 1923. As a member of the Communist Party during the Depression, she fought for unemployment programs and social security.

In later years, she was a civil rights activist, a strong advocate of immigrants' rights and an unstoppable organizer for the Audubon Society, helping to establish 21 of the society's 26 chapters in Washington state. To her chagrin, a broken hip kept her from joining the labor protests at the recent World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle.

Until very recently, she was a frequent public speaker, needling the powers-that-be with her sharp wit. A timber industry official once wrote to her that "you say the most offensive things in an inoffensive way."

She had a look at three different centuries, but was fond of saying that the biggest changes in her lifetime had been in swimsuits.

Donations in Wolf's memory can be sent to the Kids for the Environment Fund, an Audubon Society education project established on Wolf's 100th birthday. Checks can be mailed to: Seattle Audubon Society, 80560 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98115.