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The Hardiek Azzi Family

By Alexandra Fee and Dennis Strazulo

As we gear up to watch the Tokyo Olympic Games, and in honor of the Olympic spirit, Mill Valley Living is excited to be featuring the Hardiek Azzi family: Jennifer Lynn Azzi – a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist in Women’s Basketball and current Associate Vice President, Development at University of San Francisco – and her wife, Blair Hardiek, also a former collegiate basketball player and current Global Technical Director for the NBA. The couple and their budding family – including son Macklin (4), daughter Camden (14 months), loyal English Bulldog, Ella and their adorable, fluffy cat, Mr. Whitey – have settled in Mill Valley and couldn’t be more content. And busy! 

Due to a last-minute schedule change it was late afternoon on Memorial Day when we arrived simultaneously with the Hardiek Azzi’s at their home, for what rivals as our most entertaining  interview to date. Despite having just spent a long day at Six Flags Amusement Park in Vallejo, with two toddlers, we were greeted with genuine smiles and the kind of warmth you’d expect from friends you hadn’t seen in years. Soon after the interview started, Blair quietly slipped away and returned with a plate of hors d’oeuvres and took a seat next to Jennifer, who was nonchalantly sipping her water from a glass baby bottle! 

Jennifer began by taking us back to her childhood. She grew up in a small town in Tennessee with a “ton of love” in her family.  Her mother coached her T-ball team and she affectionately referred to her dad as an early “girl dad”. But her basketball prowess sprouted early and organically.  At age four, her nursery school principal summoned her parents to show them Jennifer making shots on a 10-foot basketball hoop!  Without much thought, playing basketball almost immediately became all she wanted to do. Though she was more than capable, she didn’t play in boys’ leagues as a youth, but instead paved her way playing Bitty Ball on 8-foot hoops, gradually honing her skills and developing into a standout high school player at Oak Ridge High (’86).

University of Texas graduate of Art History and English, and New Orleans native, Donna Seager’s original intention to write about art shifted to directly  immersing herself in the art world by working in art galleries — in New Orleans on Royal Street and then on to Boston where she was a director of a gallery on Newbury Street.  She eventually landed in the Bay Area where she worked for various galleries, including stints with  fellow  gallerists, Kim Eagle -Smith and Robert Green. Through her experience, Donna developed her own aesthetic which led her to open Donna Seager Gallery in 2005 on Fourth street in San Rafael to showcase her particular appreciation of works of art.
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Photography by Laura Reoch,
September-Days Photography
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is May2021_main-cover-photo.jpgPOURING THEIR “ART” OUT IN MILL VALLEY
Donna Seager & Suzanne Gray

Beginning with Susan Cummins Gallery and Robert Green Fine Arts who paved the way as the first original art galleries, Mill Valley has emerged as a bonafide destination for fine art with its exceptional art galleries. Seager/Gray has now been joined by Kim Eagles-Smith Gallery’s relocation here from San Francisco and most recently, Emebet Korn with Desta Gallery, originally in San  Anselmo. Read more
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