Hazel Gay was born in Fordyce, Arkansas in 1923. Hazel met her husband, Jimmy Gay, when she was about twenty years old while she was attending school in Thornton, Arkansas. Eventually, Gay and Jimmy were married secretly with no one knowing until several weeks later. Gay and her husband went on to have four children, all currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Before the family moved to Las Vegas, they lived in Fordyce, Arkansas. Gay ran her own restaurant in Arkansas called “The Harlem Grill.” Her husband would convince her to sell the business and relocate to Las Vegas in 1946.