Hazel Grace McFarland
- Born: Feb 11, 1915, Logan, Quay County, New Mexico
- Marriage: Thurman Pierce Kelley on Feb 11, 1939 in Washington, D.C.
- Died: Jun 25, 2005, Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana at age 90
I am Hazel Grace McFarland Kelley, born in our family home at Logan (Quay County, New Mexico) on February 11, 1915. My parents were the late Robert Simeon (Sim) McFarland, a New Mexico rancher-banker, and Cynthia Irene Brayton McFarland, who grew up on a farm near Logan, lA. They met while both were attending business school in Kansas City and were married June 20, 1905. Six children were barn to this couple; Cynthia, died in 1967, Robert, Reel, Wilma, Quintin (drowned as a toddler in 1915), and Hazel.
My most fun as a small child was in building sand castles; our yard was a ready-made sand box. When I was a little older, I loved to accompany my daddy when he went out inspecting cattle on the various ranches. I always rooked forward to lunch time, which usually amounted to "rat cheese" and dry crackers picked up at a country general store or maybe a can of sardines opened with a pocket knife. Doesn't
sound that tasty now.
In high school I participated in the music program and played basketball. Outstanding in my memory of fun activities were the many picnics in the canyons of the Canadian River. Even today the beauty of those canyons is unsurpassed. Our parents were always willing to be chaperones and to have parties far us in our home. The young people knew and respected the "no smoking or drinking" policy that was the way of life in our home. From early childhood our church and its activities was, and still is, foremost in my life.
The summer of 1931 was one of traumatic experiences for me because of the untimely death of 2 classmates, Buster Seddon and Murray Clay. In addition, my brother Reel and I were alone in the bank when it was held up. Most of the details have long since left my memory, but indelible on my mind is this scene: When I looked over my left shoulder to see who had opened the door behind me, I found myself looking down the barrel of a gun. Reel and I were told to lie on the floor as the robbers stuffed money bags. Believe me, it was a relief when the vault door slammed, and we were safe inside.
I graduated from Logan High School in May 1933. Times were hard and there were no jobs. To get experience, I was able to work in McFarland Bros. Bank, which was enjoyable work learning to keep the books and being "flunkie in general." My cousin, Jamie McFarland, was an able and patient teacher. Customers were friendly, and Daddy waited patiently many evenings for me to find my errors when the books didn't balance.
Early on a very windy, dusty morning in March 1934, (I guess it was about the beginning of the historic dust bowl), my mother and brother Robert put me on a slow train through the South to join my brother Reel and sister Wilma in Washington, D.C. in hopes of finding a job and maybe being able to attend college. It was the beginning of a new world for this country girl.
Jobs were still scarce, but I was among the fortunate ones and went to work as a typist for the FBI in August. Space does not allow, nor history require any further details about day to day experiences living in Washington, though they were many and varied.
The next and most important event in my life was on February 11, 1939 at the Natonal Baptist Memorial Church when I married Thurman Pierce Kelley. He was born in Stephens County, OK on May 19, 1915. He
was also an FBI employee having begun service on June 7,1937.
Our daughter, Cynthia Jean, was born September 2,1941. She was a good student, graduating from Fair Park High School in Shreveport, LA in 1959 and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston (Louisiana) in 1963. She had two children: Donald Robert Harrold, born April 14,1968, and Grace Anne Harrold, born May 13, 1969.
In July 1943 my husband, who by then answered to "T.P.," entered training as a Special Agent with the FBI at Quantico, VA. So began "our" long career in law enforcement - excitng, rewarding, and many times trying. His first office out of training was in the big and beautiful city in the deep south, Houston, TX (September 1943-July 1944) and from there to Chicago (July 1944-July 1945).
On April 30,1945 our son, Chester Thurman, joined the family. He, also, was a good student, graduating from Fair Park High School in 1963 and LSU, Baton Rouge, enroute to the U.S. Air Force, Big Springs,
TX, Pope AFB, NC, and Vietnam. He married Marie Nichols, and they had 2 children: Karin Elizabeth, born May 20, 1971 and Kristopher McFarland, born June 17,1980.
From Chicago we transferred to New Orleans, LA which came under the category of "another new world." After living there from 1945 to 1950, we moved to Shreveport with the hopes of making it our permanent home.
T.P. had, and still has, an uncanny ability to find both people and information and has always been highly regarded in law enforcment circles. He retired after 34 years with the FBI to become Shreveport's Chief of Police (June 1971-August 1976). In that capacity all his experiences and capabilities were "tried as by fire." He discovered corruption almost beyond description, and was able to work successfully toward its correction.
Life didn't cease for us when T.P. left the Police Department in 1976. Together now, we are working as T.P. Kelley Investigator-Security Consultant, doing some routine investigative work, but specializing in missing heirs and abandoned property. "Know how" and years of experience are still paying off. Law enforcement is pretty much, "my history" because that career, our children and grandchildren, and church relationships have been, "my life."
(written by Hazel McFarland Kelley, circa 1985)
Hazel married Thurman Pierce Kelley, son of James Odus Kelley and Mattie Alabama Smart, on Feb 11, 1939 in Washington, D.C. (Thurman Pierce Kelley was born on May 19, 1915 in Marlow, Stephens County, Oklahoma and died on Sep 6, 2006 in Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana.)