Burton Garth Hazelbaker was born in Grangeville on Jan. 10, 1928, to Elmer (Dutch) Hazelbaker and Myrtle Squibb. He joined three sisters: Ruth, Norma and Mildred. His mother died one and a half years after his birth. Dutch married Flora Sotin in 1934 and the family gained three stepbrothers (Lewis, Jack and Larry Sotin) and a half brother, Robert Hazelbaker.

Burt attended several grade schools on the Camas Prairie and entered high school at Kooskia after the family bought the Lacey Place on Wall Creek. The boys would walk to Harpster and catch the bus to Stites and Kooskia. Burt earned a letter in boxing his sophomore year. During those school years he met his future wife, Angele Kidder.