After graduating from Braintree High School as her class valedictorian in 1938, Toots attended and graduated from Bryant and Stratton College in Boston in 1940. She worked in the lab at Armstrong Cork in South Braintee, as well as several years as an office manager and secretary in Boston, an experience she enjoyed immensely.
An 85-year Grange member, Louise was active in both the Braintree Grange and Ponkapoag Grange, where she remained a member right up to the time of her death.
October 4, her birthday, is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi; and South Braintree’s current St. Francis of Assisi Church was built in 1920, the year of her birth. Toots always said, “All the important things in my life happened in that church.” Baptized, confirmed, and then married at St. Francis, Louise joined the Braintree Catholic Women’s Club and remained a member until her death. She was president of the club the year they celebrated their 50th anniversary; and she lived to enjoy their 100th anniversary as well. A long-time religious education instructor at St. Francis, she was always ready to assist whatever parish committee or group needed her helping hand.
Toots was predeceased by her parents; her husband, James R. “Dick” Hamel; three brothers, Angelo, John, and James; many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews; and by her lifelong best friend of 75 years, Corinne “Girlie” (Benson) Ladd. She leaves six children: Richard Hamel and his wife Peggy of Sandwich, MA; Dawne Hamel of South Braintree, MA; Thomas Hamel and his wife Cecilia of Granby, MA; Mary Irene Hamel of Hanson, MA; Andrew Hamel and his wife Ann of Lebanon, NH, and John Hamel and his wife Patricia of Abington, MA. She’s also survived by 12 grandchildren: Jennifer Solomon, Kendra Devanney, Adam Brezina, Kelsey Joslyn, Nikolai Hamel, A.J. Hamel, Tim Hamel, Jackie Hannaford, Chris Hamel, Julia Hamel, Robert Laing, and Steven Laing; and eight great-grandchildren: Elizabeth, Andrew and Caroline Hannaford; Gabriela and Beckett Devanney; Evelyn Joslyn, Gina Solomon, and Peter Brezina.
She’ll be remembered with great love (and a smile) by all of her remaining family and friends.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours Friday, August 30, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Cartwright-Venuti Funeral Home, 845 Washington St., South Braintree. Funeral Mass at St. Francis of Assisi, 856 Washington St., Braintree, on Saturday, August 31, at 10:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Interment at Braintree Cemetery, Plain St., Braintree. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Toots’ memory to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 856 Washington St., Braintree, MA 02184.
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