Hazel J. Sayers

November 18, 1927December 26, 2013

Hazel J. Sayers Born November 18th 1927 to Freda and Chauncey Neff of Nappanee, Indiana. She passed away December 26th 2013 in La Jolla, California. She graduated from Goshen high school in 1945 and attended Indiana University School of Nursing and became a registered nurse. While working in Honolulu, Hawaii she met her future husband Rusty Sayers. They were married on July 3rd 1953. They were happily married for 49 years until Rusty's death in April 2003.

Hazel was very humble but lead a very accomplished life. She worked with several organizations. Her last position was with the San Diego Blood Bank. From 1991 to 2003 she was the director of the stem cell donor center, bone marrow donor center, and cord blood collection center. She loved her work, especially when it involved helping children. Hazel was a member of the faculty for the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine as a research associate in the department of surgery from 1985 to 1990. At the UCSD school of medicine she was a research program specialist at the surgical laboratory and worked in the department of surgery including microsurgery from 1967 to 1985. During that time she was invited to be an instructor of the Master Class in Microsurgery, International Congress of the Microsurgery Society in Sydney Australia in 1981. She also travel extensively teaching microsurgery techniques to surgeons in Europe and Asia. From 1964 to 1967 she was employed as the head nurse in the surgical research laboratory of the Harbor General Hospital (affiliated with UCLA School of Medicine) In Torrance, Ca.

Hazel held many board positions: Executive Board UCSD Staff Association (1975-1976), American Cetacean Society National President (1978-1981), Secretary-General /Treasurer International Microsurgical Society, Editor of Society's Newsletter (1989-1983), Standards Committee for the National Marrow Donor Program (1996-2000) and Bone Marrow Foundation of San Diego Board member.

She received many honors, including; Outstanding Performance Award from the Department of Surgery UCSD School of Medicine (1975), Woman of the year from the American Cetacean Society (1981), and being named in the Seventeenth Edition of Who's Who of American Women, 1991-1992, and the First Edition of Who's Who in Science and Engineering , 1992-1993. In the 1960's Hazel and her Husband Rusty made a caravan car trip around Australia making movies highlighting the natural beauty of the country as well as documenting the native Aborigines'. She appeared on the Art Linkletter show narrating parts of the films.

Hazel had may interests including; travel, whale watching, theatre, and the symphony. She was an avid reader, enjoyed writing as well as walking and her daily glass of champagne. She learned how to swim later in her life so she could scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. She was part of a grass roots effort that raised 1 million dollars over a 20 year period for the Bone Marrow Foundation through an annual golf tournament. Her lifelong dream was to have her own personal driver to chauffer her where ever she wanted to go!

She will be sadly missed by many as she had friends and colleagues from all over the world, too many to be mentioned by name. Hazel is survived by her sister Joan Bender of Westminster, Co. and dear friends Tila Gallegos and Nick Sorenfeene of La Jolla, Ca.

Donations can be made in her name to either: "The National Marrow Donor Program (Be The Match)", 1-800-507-5427, 3001 Broadway Street N.E. Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55413, or through the website:

"The American Cetacean Society San Diego Chapter", 1-310-548-6279, ACS, P.O. Box 1391, San Pedro, Ca 90733-13691, or through their website: As per Hazels request there will be no services. Her final resting place will be Oakridge Cemetery in Goshen, Indiana.


Hazel J. Sayers

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Michael Taylor

March 22, 2014

Beyond remarkable was Hazel. She was fabulously intelligent and she utilized every facet of her capabilities in her quest to improve the lives of others. My daughter was her first bone marrow patient; I will never forget and will always be tremendously grateful for her determination and persistence in my daughter's behalf.

Sandra (Neff) Ashe

January 10, 2014

I always admired my Aunt and only regret that I learned so much of her accomplishments later in our lives. What a remarkable woman with so many gifts to humanity, a true legend in our family.

Michelle Hartup

January 10, 2014

Hazel was a Remarkable Woman. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work for her, and to call her friend. Hazel enjoyed life to the fullest and loved being able to help others through the work she did. I shall truly miss you Hazel.

Kathy Emerson

January 8, 2014

I feel privileged to have known Hazel and was lucky enough to work with here in the Bone Marrow Foundation of San Diego. Heaven has added a "Special Angel". Rest in Peace Hazel.

Pat Smith

January 8, 2014

Aunt Hazel was a remarkable lady, ahead of her time in every way.