PINETOP-LAKESIDE — It was Dec. 23 when Councilor Mazie Hastings tendered her resignation to Mayor Stephanie Irwin. It was not expected, but it did follow a health crisis. On Jan. 7 the Pinetop-Lakeside Town Council accepted her resignation.

Hastings was elected to the council in 2018 and her term was to expire at the end of November. She was not planning to run for another term.

In the Oct. 29 edition of the Independent, Hastings was featured in ‘Round the Mountain. It was in that article that the 83-year-old Hastings introduced readers to “ROAR,” a book she was reading by Michael Clinton which contradicts the traditional thoughts about growing older and encourages readers to start the next chapter of their lives. Hastings did not know that her new chapter would be so soon, or that it would take her back to her home state of California.

Mayor Irwin read the resignation letter to the council with Hastings present for her final meeting.

“I have seriously enjoyed the last three years working with councilor Hastings,” said Irwin. “I have appreciated her thoroughness in preparing for our meetings, her passion for the senior center and her passion for our community.”

Vice Mayor Jerry Smith said, “Mazie has been a real work horse for the senior center and I really appreciate that. I was the only representative who was tending to the senior center for a long time. She came on and took right over and said ‘I want to be involved in this.’ I think she was already involved because she was on their board and became president and worked very hard for the senior center, so we really appreciate her time.”

“Before I was ever on the council, I was given the opportunity to chauffeur Mazie up the mountain. I was very impressed with the experience she has had in her career and in her life,” said Councilor Paul Watkins. “She brought a lot of that knowledge and wisdom with her to this council, so I truly appreciate what she has done and wish her nothing but the best in her efforts to be closer to family and start her next venture in life.”

Hastings, in a quiet and hoarse voice, addressed her colleagues.

“It was three-and-half years ago when I ran for council. It is the first time in my life I had ever ran for an elected office. I always kind of wanted to. I was involved in the political movement. I marched in Selma, Alabama which I thought was the highest point of my life. I found that when I came on the council I had so much to learn. I had great teachers, great investigation into the way things operate, can operate, and sometimes it did not work; sometimes it did. I feel really blessed.

“I used to tell my students when I was teaching at Berkeley to give themselves three or four words — to write it down, three or four words that have changed your life, will change your life, can change your life. I got the usual, I love you, the three words very powerful, but I had my own words that come from a children’s book, ‘The Little Engine That Could.’ ‘I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.’ Very powerful four words that I went to that night when I was elected. As I looked around and saw these people who did great service, I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

“Well, recently after the third fall and a serious diagnosis, I was advised to take the rest of my time and get close to my family. I put my house on the market. I picked out a beautiful little house in California — 15 minutes from my daughter’s home. She invited me — that was very precious to me and that’s what I intend to do. And, I leave you with the mantra that when you come up in life and you get changed, and you get things that happen to you that you didn’t expect and that you don’t want, just think of ‘The Little Engine That Could:’ I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

Hastings said her colleagues were treasures to work with and ended her good byes by saying there is a senior center in California close by her house, and all kinds of politics in her home state — and she just might run for office again.

Irwin presented Hastings with an engraved clock from the town which acknowledged her service as councilwoman from 2018 – 2022.

Hastings is past president of the League of Women Voters of the California Bay Area and a member for more than 50 years. She also served as a Field Coordinator in the Bay Area for the Youth for Understanding International Exchange Program. She received the Commissioner Service Award for her work in Alameda, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties from the California State Library, and earned a Voters Service Award for work in the development and completion of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System. While working at Chabot College, she received a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and then worked at Cal State University until her early retirement. Locally, in addition to serving on the council and serving on the board of the Senior Center, she served on the White Mountain Women’s Club’s Scholarship Committee, was president of the literacy charity Books for Kids-AZ and served a term on the Pinetop-Lakeside Planning and Zoning Commission.

Reach the reporter at

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

(1) comment


Best to you were the first person to welcome my mom into the Sr Center!

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