Jim Hazard 1936-2012
Goodbye to a great guy, and a great writer.
For those of you who haven’t heard, Jim Hazard, a long-time contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, died suddenly on Friday. He was 76.
Jim was a great guy and a great writer. His lively, impressionistic features were favorites among readers of the magazine – stories like his lyrical profile of a tugboat operator, his comical feature about Kringles, his goofy Ode to the Potato, his chronicle of his strange bout with amnesia, and, more recently, his compelling and sensitive portrait of Judge Joe Donald’s drug treatment court.
“For more years than I remember, Hazard reviewed bars,” dining critic Ann Christenson remembers. “He often sought out places that had a certain feel – off-the-beaten path and singular in its own way. He particularly loved to sit at a hotel bar, by himself, just hanging out with his whiskey and chatting up the people around him. He was a master at conveying atmosphere."
“Haz,” as he was known, was a published poet, accomplished musician and dedicated English professor at UWM. As noted in his obituary on Sunday in the Journal Sentinel, he helped start UWM’s creative writing program in 1968 and retired as professor emeritus in 2007. He was married to Susan Firer, a poet and UWM professor. He had six children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
According to his obit, a service will be held on Sunday March 11.
Haz’s death is a loss to the magazine, to the writers’ community and to those who have ever met him or read his words.
Hazard photo by Kat Schleicher