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Robert J. Hazelton, 67

Robert Joseph Hazelton, age 67, of Howard Lake, passed away early the morning of Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at his home, after a long fight with a formidable opponent, cancer.

He was born Nov. 11, 1946, in Philadelphia, and was raised in Orlando, FL. He grew up loving athletics, and excelling at many.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Robert pursued a career in professional boxing. Among the highlights were his fights with George Foreman and Bob Foster, as well as his time as a sparring partner with Joe Frazier.

After his boxing career, Robert spent some time as a bodyguard for bands, such as Van Halen and Def Leppard.

During his career in boxing, pressure mounted on Robert to add weight and become more powerful, which lured him into steroid use. Both his legs were amputated as a result.

After a long, painful recovery, Robert began speaking to young athletes about the risks of steroid use, helping others to avoid the painful road he followed. Robert did many interviews on the subject, was featured on many national sports programs, and spoke to a congressional subcommittee in 2004, while it was considering tighter controls on over-the-counter “pre-cursers” of steroids.

Robert met the love of his life, Valerie Warn, in 1994. Valerie and Robert built a home in Howard Lake, sharing it with a family of loving animals, including Sammy, his beloved dog.

A few years ago Robert, through all his challenges, accomplished one of his proudest achievements – his private pilot’s license.

Robert is survived by many loving family members, including his wife Valerie; mother Lara Mae Grantham; sister Mary Jo King; nieces and nephews; and his loving pets.

He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph; and brother Harry.

Funeral services took place Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. at Bear Creek Lutheran Church, Grand Meadow, MN.

Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremations Services of Howard Lake served the family; www.swansonpeterson.com

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