Connie Hazelwood Poor died on March 2 at her home in Princeton. She was 64.
She was born in Fayetteville, Tennessee to Roland and Mable (Townsend) Hazelwood and moved to Phenix City, Alabama, in 1962.
She leaves behind her devoted husband of forty-four years, H. Vincent Poor. They met as students at Central High School in Phenix City, where they began their lifelong partnership in 1969 and were married in 1973. Connie is also survived by their daughters, Kristin Poor of Brooklyn, New York, and Lauren Poor of Los Angeles, California, and by her parents in Athens, Alabama, and younger sister, Melinda Kerr of Huntsville, Alabama.
Connie studied at the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing in Birmingham, Alabama, and at the University of Illinois in Urbana. She began her long and varied nursing career at the Lee County Hospital in Opelika, Alabama in 1973, and worked subsequently at the Princeton Medical Center, Carle Clinic in Urbana, and at HiTops in Princeton. She spent much of her career as a nurse educator. Her work was driven by her commitment to social justice. After her retirement from nursing, she became a docent at the Princeton University Art Museum, an avocation that she found to be immensely rewarding. A longtime Princeton resident, she was generous with her time, volunteering at WomanSpace, the Mercer County Medical Reserve Corps, the Princeton Fete, the Present Day Club, the Parent-Teacher Organizations of the John Witherspoon School and Princeton High School, and as a board member of HiTops and the Princeton Adult School, among others. One year, she convinced friends to join her in biking 300 miles in three days for the AIDS Ride from Boston to New York.
Connie was deeply loving, compassionate, and fiercely liberal. Gracious and warm, her presence would light up any room she entered, her friends said. Those who met her often commented on her unreserved and radiant smile, her glorious red hair, and lovely, ever-so-slight Southern accent. She adored art in all its forms, a passion that she in turn inspired in her daughters. She was an avid photographer, had a keenly observant eye for nature’s intricate details, and was known to stop and marvel at every flower, fern, and bird on her daily walks in the woods. With her husband Vince, she enthusiastically traveled the world. She never forgot her roots, most recently traveling back to Alabama for her father’s 90th birthday celebration, which she gracefully organized even in illness. She was a master gift-giver and maker, knitting warm wares of all kinds for loved ones and hosting knitting circles for worthy causes. She provided a deep sense of comfort to all the people, plants, and animals in her world.
Beloved wife, partner, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, she was a calm and gentle presence, whose joy in life’s beauty was contagious. This remarkable optimism is just one of many gifts she has left behind.
After being diagnosed with cancer in October 2017, Connie was lovingly cared for by her family and many friends. In her final days, she was at home, surrounded by loved ones and song, still smiling and making all those around her feel at peace. Among her last words were, “How beautiful. You’re all so beautiful.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Princeton University Art Museum. A memorial service is being planned for the spring.