Millard “Luke” Hazen was a fondly remembered member of our community who spent most of his life in our town. He was born in Decatur, NY on December 22, 1895.
He married Mildred Strail and they operated a dairy about one mile east of the village of Schenevus. After selling their farm, the Hazen’s moved into the house on the corner of Race and Main streets and opened a hardware store in Schenevus on the corner of West and Main streets.
My father recalls, Luke would hire many of the local teenage boys to help in his store. Luke told him, “I want to keep them busy and out of trouble!” Luke would not hesitate to chew out one of “his” boys when they got themselves in trouble.
He became the driving force behind the Schenevus Drum Corp in 1946 and led the Drum Corp for 22 years. He was insistent on good attendance and hard work to improve performance. Luke used the success of his business to provide the Drum Corp with new uniforms and equipment. With the inspired leadership of Luke, the Schenevus Drum Corp earned a reputation of excellence that culminated in an appearance in a parade in Albany, NY.
Many of the teenagers in the Schenevus area joined the Drum Corp when they were in high school and continued to play for years. My father, Robert Barton played for 17 years (even after starting a farm of his own). My mother, Barbara Braun Barton, played in the Drum Corp for 13 years.
Luke and Mildred did not have children of their own but Luke would simply state, “I’ve had dozens of children!” He considered anyone who worked for him or played in the Drum Corp to be a part of his family.
He was struck down by a fatal heart attack while leading the Drum Corp in practice for the Memorial Day parade.
Luke was a humble man who never sought praise. The success of “his” children and the Drum Corp was his reward.
We are dedicating this Regatta in his memory. A simple, kind, community minded man who is greatly missed.