Woman who worked for the US State Department dies aged 100

Hazel Somerville
Hazel Somerville

A woman, who enjoyed an action packed life after working for the US State Department, has died aged 100.

Hazel Somerville, of Bury St Edmunds, once said she had been ‘kicked out of so many countries’ after being born in Siberia as an American citizen before her family fled to China following the start of the revolution.

As a teenager she left China and attended university in the US and later worked for the State Department in China, Central America and India in coding and as head of Human Resources.

While based in China during the Japanese invasion of World War Two, she was part of an exchange with Japanese diplomats stationed in the US.

She returned to China and was expelled from Nanking following the rise of Communism before being posted to Calcutta, in India, where she met her husband James. They moved to Bury in 1971.

Her daughter Clare said: “She had no regrets about her life because she had done everything.” Mrs Somerville also leaves her son Nicholas and three grandchildren. Her funeral will be held on May 17 at 3.45pm at West Suffolk Crematorium.