Source: Library of Congress
Hazel Johnson (née Hazel Lee Roberts) was only 36 years old when she succumbed to heatstroke on August 1st, 1930. It was such a tragic death for the wife of Washington great Walter Johnson, who understandably took it very hard.
Below is the article from the Baltimore Sun, published on August 2nd, 1930.
Washington, Aug. 1 (AP)–Mrs. Walter Johnson died today after a brief illness. Weakened by a long vigil at the bedside of a son, the wife of the veteran Washington baseball player fell ill two days ago after a heat-ridden motor trip from her husband’s former home at Coffeyville, Kan.
At first it was thought that a long rest would enable her to recover, but her condition became serious yesterday while her husband was at the baseball park preparing to lead his second-place Nationals against the league-leading Philadelphia Athletics. He was called by physicians, and remained at the hospital until the end early today.
A growing mass of flowers at the Johnson home gave evidence tonight of the wide sympathy with the man who, as “the Big Train,” became known from one end of the country to the other. Among them was a wreath from President and Mrs. Hoover. The game of the Washington team with the New York Yankees on Monday has been postponed to permit his teammates to attend the funeral.
They were married when he was at the pinnacle of his fame, 16 years ago. Mrs. Johnson was 36 years old and a daughter of former Representative E. E. Roberts, of Nevada.
She became acquainted with Walter Johnson while living at the same hotel at which the Washington baseball team stayed, and, being an athlete herself, they soon became fast friends. In her high school days she was captain of the basket-ball team which held the Navada [sic] championship two years.
Surviving are her husband and five children Only the eldest child, Walter, Jr., who is 14, was told of her death, which occurred in the same hospital in which he was confined with two broken legs recently.
Such an unbelievably tragic story. So as not to leave you with a downer of a story, don’t forget to read the post we wrote about the day Walter and Hazel were married in an apartment on Monroe St. NW.
Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District. He lives in Columbia Heights with Mrs. Ghost and Ghost Dog. On September 3rd, 2013, the second site launched as Ghosts of Baltimore.