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Gerard Henry Hamel, 77, of Morrisville, VT passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family and friends on November 7, 2023 after a prolonged decline from lung disease.
He was predeceased by his parents Gerard O. And Vivian T. Hamel, his beloved daughter Robyn Kaye Hamel, and sister-in-law Juanita Mander. He leaves behind many in his wide wake of influence: his wife of nearly 55 years Donna Hamel, son Matthew, daughter-in-law Tyra Sorensen and granddaughters Aurora and Athena Hamel, son-in-law Mat Norton and grandson Nicholas
Norton, his brother Phil Hamel and sister-in-law Connie Hamel, brother Arthur Hamel and sister-in-law Sandy Hamel, brother Roger Hamel, sister-in-law Sandy Stephens, brother-in-law Chuck
Mander, sister-in-law Cathy Adams and brother-in-law Ken Adams, and many nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues that were so dear to his heart.
Born in 1946 and raised in Morrisville, VT, the oldest of four brothers, Henry lived across the street from Holy Cross Catholic Church, the center of his family’s spiritual life. He graduated from Peoples Academy, then Vermont Tech in 1967. He married his high school sweetheart Donna in 1968. They spent time in Charleston, SC and Naples Italy courtesy of the US Navy,
serving in the Vietnam War before settling in Essex, VT to raise a family in 1973. They adopted two infant children in 1977 and 1979, and he made family his utmost priority. He took jobs as a
Fish and Game Warden and owned a laundromat in addition to his full time work at General Electric to support his ambition of sending his children to college. He always played the long game. He never missed an opportunity to outdo himself with a fancy anniversary adventure with Donna, often a surprise. They enjoyed snowmobiling and camping, often inviting their siblings and their families, and other friends “down to the camper” in its perpetual site at Lake Champagne. He went back to earn a business degree at Trinity College in 1990.
He found a great passion for Scouting, and shared his deep knowledge and love of the outdoors and leadership with a wide swath of Scouts and Scouters throughout the state of Vermont and in
Virginia over the years. He was able to share this passion with his son on many 50 mile hikes on the Long Trail, led trips to high adventure bases at Philmont in New Mexico and Northern Tier in
Ontario, and led two large contingents to National Scout Jamborees in Virginia. More recently, he was able to guide his granddaughters through a Fish and Wildlife merit badge in his last
winter, and served to his last days as an advisor to Matthew’s recent Scoutmastership.
A work opportunity took Henry and Donna to Amissville, Virginia in 1997, where they gave up snowmobiles for motorcycles and made friends touring all over the state and beyond, where “the trails were always groomed.” They returned to Vermont after daughter Robyn’s tragic death in 2002 to be nearer to family. They built a house in Hyde Park to retire in, and bought and
operated Taylor’s Color World to serve his hometown community. He took up woodworking with gusto, appreciating the challenging precision of working with hardwoods to create beautiful
furniture and cabinetry that became gifts to many of his family and friends, and he shared his tools and techniques, spending time building things with others. As his health began to decline,
he gave up the wood shop and found joy in working on quilting projects with Donna, traveling together to see quilt shows, and pouring over patterns and fabrics, bringing his engineering mind to layout and cutting, leaving the stitching to Donna. A true partnership of love, which they gave to many friends and family. He found delight in bringing the legacy of old family patterns back to life, and spending time with Donna, as they also did creating custom Christmas gifts for family each year.
His busy mind didn’t take well to retirement, and he spent several years working at Lowe’s, mentoring and giving an example of pride in work to his younger colleagues. He was always
available for a chat or to drop by if someone had a problem to discuss. His insights and welcoming concern for others will be sorely missed, and oft remembered by those he touched.
Services will be held on Monday November 13, 2023. Calling hours will be 9-10:30am at Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish Catholic Church, 301 Brooklyn St, Morrisville VT, 05661, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00am, and burial at Randolph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Name Parish Building Project, 301 Brooklyn St, Morrisville, VT 05661 or Lamoille Home Health & Hospice, 54 Farr Ave, Morrisville, VT 05661.