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Hazel Hodge Rathel: June 22, 2021

Hazel Hodge Rathel, 95, of Americus, passed away on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. A native of Orlando, FL, she was born on May 9, 1926, the eighth of 12 children born to Melton and Mittie Hodge, and the last surviving sibling.

She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, husband, Cecil Rathel, and son, Craig Rathel. Survivors include daughter and son-in-law, Anne and Terry Adams, of Dunwoody, GA; son, Bobby, of Andersonville; grandson, Brent Adams, of Atlanta; granddaughter and her spouse, Kelli and Daniel Williamson, of Greenville, S.C.; and great-granddaughter, Miller Katherine Williamson; also surviving are sisters-in-law Joyce Rathel and Bettie Rathel.

Hazel had a lifelong love of learning. She attended Mars Hill College and graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She also earned Master of Education and Educational Specialist degrees from Georgia Southwestern, and earned many leadership certificates and took courses from the University of Georgia & Georgia State University.

After marrying Cecil in 1950, they attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. She then worked alongside Cecil as he served as Minister of Education at St. John’s Baptist in Charlotte, N.C.; Central Baptist in Miami, FL; First Baptist of West Palm Beach, FL; and Bayshore Baptist of Tampa, FL. They made many lifelong friends from these church homes.

She began teaching elementary school for DeKalb County Schools, then Americus City Schools. After retirement, she served as a Language Arts Consultant for the Georgia Department of Education for Regional Education Service Agency (RESA), then Student Teacher Supervisor at Georgia Southwestern.

She was a proud member of the Kappa Kappa Iota, Delta Kappa Gamma Honor Society, Phi Delta Kappa educational organizations, and a dedicated member of Retired Teachers.

She dedicated her life to serving others, including Charter Volunteer for Americus Hospice. She taught Sunday school, and served as a church librarian at First Baptist. She also taught children’s organizational development in North Carolina and Florida.

Most of all, she loved her family. She credited her siblings for their sacrifices in assisting her in obtaining her education. She dearly loved her nieces and nephews, and loved her husband’s extended family. She was an inspiration, and constantly encouraged all whom she encountered to continue learning and enjoy reading.

Funeral services will be conducted at noon on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at First Baptist Church of Americus, with internment to follow at 2 p.m. at Andersonville National Cemetery.

The family will receive friends and family at Greg Hancock Funeral Chapel from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 28, 2021.

The family suggests memorials be made to First Baptist Church, 221 S. Lee Street, Americus, GA 31709.

You may sign the online guestbook at GregHancockFuneralChapel.com.

Greg Hancock Funeral Chapel is in charge of these arrangements.