Mary's Story

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AMESBURY, MA - Mary Delano (Wilson) Hamel passed away peacefully on August 9, 2015, at Merrimack Valley Health Center in Amesbury at the age of 94. She was the beloved wife of the late Normand Hamel, her high school sweetheart, who passed away in 2006 and with whom she had shared 61 years of marriage.

Mary was born on June 7, 1921, the oldest daughter of the late John and Irene (White) Wilson. She attended Bartlett and Ordway Schools in Amesbury and graduated from Amesbury High School with the Class of 1939 where she served as Class Secretary for four years. She graduated from the former Salem Commercial School where she received her secretarial training.

In her early years as a secretary Mary worked at Henschel Corporation in Amesbury. After moving to Manchester, NH she was affiliated with the law firm of Craig and Craig where she served as executive secretary for many years. When her husband became proprietor of Barcelow Auto Body, they moved back to Amesbury where she took on the role of bookkeeper for his business. She was also the bookkeeper for R & G Manufacturing for many years.

With her husband always by her side, Mary supported her hometown of Amesbury by joining many civic organizations such as the Carriage Museum, The Hat Museum, and Amesbury Improvement Association. Her efficiency and organizational skills made her a perfect choice for secretary of the Elizabeth H. Whittier Club, and she enjoyed being a member of St. Ann's Sodality and the Mother's Club of St. Joseph Church.

Among Mary's hobbies were compiling family genealogy, knitting, playing cards, and traveling. But her true passion was music. Besides teaching piano lessons, she also played for professional singers to sing on the radio in the early 1940's. More recently she was the pianist for the Singing Belles, a choral group who entertained audiences in the area.

Mary will always be remembered for the wonderful parties that she had at her home and for her warm and vivacious personality as she sat at her piano, surrounded by family and friends, and brought the love of music into their lives. She was a gentle woman who loved her family above all and always put them first. She was so proud of her children and grandchildren and thoroughly enjoyed attending all of their various activities. Her shadow passes, but her light remains.

Mary is survived by her four children: Beverly Peeke and husband Dick of Amesbury, MA; Barbara Knapp and husband Lee of South Hampton, NH; Brian Hamel and wife Gail of Presque Isle, ME; Bradley Hamel and wife Sherri of Hampton, NH. She also leaves 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and a sister Dorothy Kitchell. She was predeceased by her twin sister Annie Merrill and her sister Marjorie Bowlby.

The family would like to extend deep appreciation to the staff at Merrimack Valley Health Center where she was cared for with love for the last eight years of her life. In lieu of flowers or a monetary donation and in memory of Mary and Normand's spirit of giving, go forth and extend a kindness to someone in need.
Published on  August 12, 2015
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