Florence Hazel Kintzley Porter

Honored by:Dorothy Vance, Harriet Moore, Phyllis Noble, & Lois Roberts
Brick location:F:29  map

Hazel K. Porter was born in Pocahontas County, Iowa in 1898. The Kintzleys moved to Ames in 1906. Hazel then became one of the 4th generation of Kintzleys to live in Ames. They owned farmland which later was donated to Iowa State College. The property was in the same general vicinity as Pammel Court.

Hazel’s father was a master at growing things and had a deep love of all aspects of the natural world. it was no surprise that Hazel majored in botany and industrial science at Iowa State College. She was active in drama and music as well. She graduated from Iowa State College in the class of 1921 and married another botany graduate (1918) R. Howard Porter. During their years in Ames Howard Porter taught botany and served as the head of the Iowa State Seed Laboratory. They raised five children - four daughters and one son.

Hazel was a versatile lady whose interests encompassed not only botany but gardening, liberal and fine arts, archaeology, genealogy, religion, world travel and all the domestic arts. She was not only a perennial student but an inspiring teacher.

From 1923 to 1927 Hazel and heir family lived in Nanking, China. On many occasions her sense of humor carried her through the stress of living far from home. There was a revolution in each country in which her husband worked China, Paraguay, Brazil, Lebanon and Iran. In March of 1927 the family became refugees fleeing down the Yangtze River from Nanking, China. Howard was taken prisoner by the North Chinese. Hazel - with two small daughters and pregnant with third - left all personal belongings to the looters and sailed on a gunboat for Shanghai. The Porters "started over" in Ames.

While her children were growing up in Ames, Hazel instilled in each a love of music. Piano, trumpet, xylophone, drums, voice - all needing practice time and patience. The children grew up listening to the "Music Shop" on WOI radio. Each afternoon -after school Hazel featured an article from The National Geographic. The after-school snack reflected the native food of the foreign county while the children learned its geography and social customs.

In turn, Hazel tutored the Iowa State foreign students in English as well as students in the various countries in which she lived. Howard and Hazel sponsored the foreign students at Iowa State during the late 1930's and early 1940's. Two of those students became her "sons" and are to this day considered part of the family. On many holiday occasions nearly 60 foreign students helped prepare and enjoy festive meals at the Oakland Street house. Hazel was a gourmet cook. She also planted a victory garden and canned over 700 quarts of food each summer during World War II years.

Hazel once began an autobiography she titled “The Gardens of My Life." Her gardens wherever she lived were grandiose and picture-perfect. She planned the house on Oakland Street in Ames - every inch custom-designed to fit the needs of each member of the family.

She studied archaeology and religion when she lived in Lebanon and Iran and I learned to make pottery. She researched the history of each country and reported her findings in weekly letters to her children. She later taught adult Sunday School and migrant families in Colorado. Her artistic eyes and hands produced lovely useful needlework and charming pastel paintings.

In 1950 the Porters moved to Ft. Collins Colorado, where Howard taught botany and headed the Colorado State University -Seed Laboratory. Hazel ' s love of flowers elevated to the mountains . On numerous mountain hikes she alternated chanting poetry with the botanical names of the alpine plants. She took a job -- her first - in the Seed Laboratory -- 38 years after graduating from college. She felt her education had finally paid off!

Hazel was a woman ahead of her time for she achieved a high degree of independence and individuality while maintaining the responsibilities of wife and mother. In the drama of our lives she was most certainly a heroine of noble proportions.

Hazel Porter was killed in an automobile accident in 1964 .