Marie Anna Hazle Fink

Published 4:55 pm Friday, May 1, 2015


Marie Anna Dieterich was born on March 11, 1923 in Nuremburg, Germany. She had a beautiful childhood, filled with simple wonders, handmade treasures, and nature. She ice skated on frozen ponds, climbed the Austrian Alps, cherished Christmas, family, and loved sports, the outdoors, and fresh air. She attended an all-girls Catholic school and had dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher. But, in 1939 when she was 16 years old, she and her identical twin sister were sent a notice from the Nazi government. They could either go to work in the war plant, under the direction of Werner Von Braun, or be sent to Krakow, Poland. Those who went to Poland never returned. Marie Anna and her sister were sent to the war plant.

Marie Anna was assigned to monitor radar for incoming planes, and to manage the pharmacy and medical supply room. As Allied planes were dropping bombs on Nuremburg, everything she owned was gone in seconds. She was cold, hungry, and homeless, sleeping on the basement floor of the war plant for years. On January 2, 1945, Nuremburg was bombed beyond recognition. Marie Anna walked out into the street and up a favorite hill that overlooked the city. It was gone. American tanks finally rolled into the rubble and told her to “go home” but she had no home to go to. She was left to find her own means of survival. She once said; “It did not matter who you were – rich man, poor man, doctor, lawyer, or man on the street, everyone wanted the same thing – to survive.”

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Marie Anna lost her youth to the war, but she worked hard to regain her beautiful life. She met a dashing American soldier and married Norman Hazle in l951. They came to America where she took classes at Rutgers University in New Jersey, studying English, history and science. She was one of only two persons out of l00 that was granted early citizenship as a result of her efforts. The Army sent her husband to post war Japan, leaving her alone in her new country. She was offered a job with Sonnite Corporation (later Johnson & Johnson) if she could “fix their unorganized mess.” Marie Anna organized so well, the president promoted her to secretary to the vice president of the company. If there was one thing she could do well, it was organize. Soon after her promotion however, she left to be with her husband, living for four years in rudimentary barracks in Korkora, Japan.

She lived in Columbus and rose to director of Material Services, working from 1968-1990 for St. Luke’s Hospital. She was pivotal with the move of St. Luke’s from the Tryon campus to Columbus and was credited with saving countless health care dollars for the hospital during her tenure. Hard working and loyal, she never took a sick day and her speedy high heels could be heard up and down the hallways from dawn until dusk.

In 1983 Marie Ann’s husband died. In 1989 she met and married Lt. Col. Richard Fink. They sailed their beloved boat from Michigan down the inter-coastal waterway to South Carolina and Florida. The couple took many trips together to Australia, Germany, across the United States, France and to Marie Ann’s favorite Montana-Canadian Rockies. Marie Ann and Richard hosted many memorable Christmas parties on Godshaw Hill, welcomed countless friends and strangers into their home and laughed and loved more hours than most can imagine until Richard’s death in 2012.


Marie Anna was awarded the Second Wind Hall of Fame for her active volunteer work with Meals on Wheels, St. Luke’s Hospital and Hospice. She was the best Oma in the world to her only grandchild and light of her life, Victoria. They spent countless hours playing in sandboxes, running through the grass, drawing, telling stories, eating ice cream, roasting marshmallows and sharing life. She loved to dance, hoping everyone was watching, uninhibited, free and alive. If we all could only be so brave and so full of music. “The hills,” to her, were always “alive” in her heart. No war or loss of country could ever take that from her.

When her children were young, Marie Anna took them and the neighborhood kids on countless walks up Skyuka and White Oak Mountains. They hiked Pearson Falls, Lake Lure and Chimney Rock. They always took the paths less traveled, into the woods, up the sides of waterfalls, musing into secret coves and virgin forests. Once she carried a little boy who was gravely ill on her back to the top of White Oak Mountain so he could see the view. At 90 she walked up the nearly 500 steps to the top of Chimney Rock with her granddaughter and blazed her granddaughter a trail by hand in the woods behind her house, as a living memory and place of solace. Marie Anna cherished peace, productivity and knowledge for the benefit of humankind all her life. She possessed a unique work ethic, loved her flowers, reading countless books and enjoyed her many travels around the world on five continents. She lived nearly a century, witnessing and experiencing many changes, but always remained true to herself. She wanted everyone to work together and love one another, despite our differences, graciously sharing what is simple and free to us all-kindness.

Marie Ann passed away on April 29 with her family by her side, at home with her beautiful flowers. She is survived by her sister, Elise Charlotte of Erlangen, Germany, two nieces and one nephew and their families in Germany and Finland; her son, Rupert Hazle of Austin, Texas; her daughter, Vana Hazle Bolling (Dr. Thomas Bolling) and her granddaughter, Victoria of Tryon; a step daughter, Suzanne Curry of Colorado.

The family will receive friends at their home on Thursday, June 4, 2015 from 5-7 p.m. There will be no public funeral service.

In the end, Marie Anna did not wish for more time, but each day until her last, she lived the time she was given with grace and dignity and determination. Her life was perhaps all she hoped it would be because she made it so. Wherever she goes shall be the most beautiful, tendered and loved garden and oh, so many mountains she will climb. Thank you Mom, for inspiring so many dreams. You were the best and we love you.

Special thanks to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, and Pardee Radiology Department.

In lieu of flowers, and in memory of her dream to teach and her love for children, Marie Anna requested memorials be given to Polk County Middle School for the purchase of books.

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel
Tryon, N.C.