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Longtime resident shares birthday with community

Members of the First Christian Church join Hazel Craddock for a group photo Tuesday on her 100th birthday. (Photo by Maxine Wheelan)

Members of the First Christian Church join Hazel Craddock for a group photo Tuesday on her 100th birthday. (Photo by Maxine Wheelan)

Midwest City has changed a lot over the last 100 years.

Hazel Craddock has seen it all.

The longtime resident and city advocate celebrated her 100th birthday with friends, family and city leader Tuesday afternoon at Nick Harroz Community Center.  Several people shared stories about Craddock before singing Happy Birthday and enjoying cake.
Craddock said it was a pleasure spending her birthday with loved ones.
“I haven’t seen a lot of you in a long time and appreciate everyone coming here,” Craddock said. “I love you all. And thank you for being here today.”
City Manager Guy Henson was the first of several speakers. He read a brief biography and spoke about his personnel interactions with Craddock, primarily through her efforts to develop the city’s trail system. Henson presented her with roses and an honorary 20-year service pin from the City of Midwest City.
“Even though you aren’t necessarily a city employee, we feel like you’re part of the family,” Henson said.
Craddock’s daughter Judy Ritchie and nephew Randy McDonald were among those present at the celebration. McDonald said his aunt has always been a loving and hospitable woman. Ritchie said is an incredible role model and citizen.
“It has been an interesting life with a mother who is a go-getter, a bulldog and a hero,” Ritchie said. “She has been an incredible example of what to do. Sometimes I question how to do it. But this lady has been an incredible and enthusiastic citizen of Midwest City and has helped it grow. She has given us a real legacy.”
Others spoke of Craddock’s dedication to her church and other organizations.
Craddock was born July 26, 1916 in a quiet farming community that eventually became Midwest City. Her grandfather Henry Meloy, a Civil War veteran from Wisconsin, came to Oklahoma during Land Run of 1889 and homesteaded a 160-acre farm. Because the home was a dream come true, the family named it Yafa Farm. Yafa means “beautiful or pleasant to look at” in Hebrew. A plaque outside the Reed Conference Center commemorates the family homestead.
The family farm was home to Craddock for years. She attended Soldier Creek School, Sooner School, and later business school. At age 15, she began working at the Ten Cents Store and later at a bond company and federal corporation.
She married in 1939 and later had one daughter.
Craddock has been an active member of the community for years. She is a longtime member of First Christian Church. She organized a craft designers association in Midwest City, was a member of the Eastern Star, and other organizations.
Her most notable efforts have helped beautify Midwest City. Craddock petitioned city leaders to establish a nature trail along Solider Creek in Joe B. Barnes Regional Park. The Solider Creek Nature Trail and Memory Lane was developed and is a favorite spot for residents to run, walk and enjoy the outdoors. The city is continuing to expand the trail system.
Craddock also served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, Tree Board and Trails Advisory Committee. Her commitment to the trails and outdoors earned her the title “Mother Nature” in Midwest City.

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