Wayne Robert Hazelhurst, 77, died peacefully at home on Nov. 7, 2018, after a long illness bravely fought. Wayne was born in Winnipeg, Canada, to Helen and Frank on May 23, 1941.
His parents first moved the family, including his elder brother Gerald and younger brother Richard, to Bellingham, Wash., where they became U.S. citizens prior to moving to Van Nuys, Calif. Wayne attended Van Nuys High School, graduating in the class of 1959. While working at ABC in 1961, he met Anthony DeCristo – a lifelong friend and business partner, and soon after met Nancy Stites, whom he married in December 1965.
Wayne enlisted in the Marine Corps on Nov. 15, 1963, serving his country as an aviator for four years and attaining the rank of sergeant. His active duty assignments included more than a year of combat in Vietnam, which proved to be a strongly formative experience. Wayne was shot down and held as a prisoner of war for more than a month before escaping, forever shaping his character as a strong, proud, patriotic American.
Following his honorable discharge, Wayne settled with Nancy in Van Nuys, where they started their family with the births of daughters Sherry and Jill. He also began his apprentice position with Local Union 33 in June 1968, learning the art and craft of building theatrical sets for all types of performance arts. Together with his friend Anthony in 1973, the pair started their own American Scenery company in Northridge. Their commitment to quality and excellence was acknowledged with a Daytime Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1979.
A second chapter in Wayne’s life began with his marriage to Karen Fraustein in 1986. Married for 32 years, they enjoyed a full and fun life, working hard, experiencing new and interesting places, and entertaining friends. They started American RV, a repair business, after closing American Scenery. For fun and relaxation, they traveled to places both near and far, such as Yosemite, Maui, Alaska, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, and Africa, raving about every new adventure and the wonderful people they met along the way. The couple also loved entertaining. Wayne was always bringing home people without a place to share a holiday meal or was busy coordinating parties for friends, neighbors and colleagues. He made more friends than can be listed and cherished them all.
These early experiences undoubtedly contributed to Wayne’s unwavering zest for life. He enjoyed telling jokes, testing out the latest new gadget, and helping others who may be feeling left out or in need. Visiting Tehachapi since 1993, he and Karen moved permanently to Bear Valley Springs in 2003. He worked for BVS Association as a park ranger and shooting range master, cleaning up the site and helping youth and women practice safe firearms handling. In 2009, he welcomed Jill’s son, Stanley, to the family as his only grandchild. He truly loved living here for the scenic beauty, peace and quiet, wildlife roaming through the yard, and wonderful friends who surrounded him. He lived his life to the fullest and helped all those he could to do the same.
Graveside service will be held at Bakersfield National Cemetery, Arvin, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, at 1:15 p.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at Jennifer’s Terrace, 413 S. Curry St., Tehachapi, Calif., at 3 p.m. All family and friends are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to the Greater Los Angeles Fisher House Foundation, Operation Homefront, or any veterans charity of your choice in remembrance.
Wood Family Funeral Service, Inc. is handling the arrangements. For condolences please visit www.woodmortuary.net.