Cover photo for Franklin Hazlehurst's Obituary
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1925 Franklin 2020

Franklin Hazlehurst

November 6, 1925 — November 12, 2020

Franklin Hamilton Hazlehurst was born on November 6, 1925 to Robert and Lottie Hazlehurst in Spartanburg, S.C. He died on November 12, 2020 shortly after his 95th birthday.Hamilton attended The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. His college studies took him to Princeton University, where he obtained a B.A. in Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts, and a PhD. in French Baroque Architecture and Garden Design.He served as Chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Vanderbilt University for 27 years and transformed what initially consisted of a painter and a sculptor into a department with more than a dozen respected faculty, an annual lecture series and more than 6,000 pieces of museum quality art. Hamilton’s students adored him and wished his very special lectures would never end. Even his large introductory lectures inspired many to attain degrees in art history or simply take all the classes he taught because he was always able to bring his subjects magically to life. His passion for art was infectious and palpable.During Vanderbilt breaks, Hamilton led tours all over the world that were legendary not only for the excitement and depth of knowledge he imparted but also for his ability to capture the unique qualities of any place that was visited and find its hidden secrets. Fortunately, he always had Carol, the love of his life for over 70 years, as a partner and “travel agent” during these adventures.After more than 30 years of research, Hamilton finished his award-winning book on Andre Le Nostre. He brought Le Nostre and his work to life. This genius of optical illusion was known as the master of 17th century French formal gardens. He was the principal French landscape architect of Louis XIV and perhaps remembered most of all for designing the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Hamilton’s Gardens of Illusion was published in 1980 and reprinted four times. In 2005, his book was published in French, and in 2006, Hamilton was invited to Paris to be honored for his work by the French Ministry of Culture, receiving L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his significant contribution to the enrichment of French Culture, one of France's highest honors.Hamilton was beloved by his entire family, his colleagues and countless friends. He was steeped in the gentility of a bygone era yet fully aware and appreciative of the good fortune that had graced his life. He had a sense of humility about his numerous professional achievements and accolades. Hamilton’s true essence was seen in his focus on the more enduring aspects of life- the pursuit of the virtues: wisdom; truth; integrity; the love of family and the timeless beauty of art. This very special man will live on in the hearts and minds of many people.Hamilton is survived by his wife, Carol Foord Hazlehurst and his four children and their spouses – F. Hamilton Hazlehurst, Jr. and his wife Pamela Bekins, Robert P. Hazlehurst II and his wife Edith, Hadley Hazlehurst Mullen and Kathy Greene, and Abigail Hazlehurst Karroubi and her husband Bob. He has four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.Because of COVID 19, memorial services will be delayed until it is deemed safe to gather.
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