Hazel was the 2nd oldest child of John and Ida (Esson) Lawrence. Her oldest brother was Leroy Lawrence and her sister was Ruth (Lawrence) Sell. Her two younger brothers were Donald and Harry Lawrence. Hazel graduated from Brook High School in 1908. She attended Wooster College in Ohio for one year and then transferred to De Pauw College in Greencastle. On 6-19-1913 she married Everette Downing Hess. They had 3 children: Helen, Lawrence, and Martha. Hazel was a long time member of the Brook United Methodist Church.