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In loving memory of
Paul G. Hamel
  • February 27, 1944
  • -
  • July 14, 2022

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Obituary

Paul G. Hamel, 78, of The Villages, Florida passed away on July 14 with his loving family at his side. He was the son of the late Albert and Pauline (Masse) Hamel and is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carolyn Hamel. He is also survived by four children Liz Hamel (Justin Ryckebusch) of San Francisco, CA, Julia Purrington (Mark Paluck) of Evergreen, CO, Peter Hamel (Sarah Link) of Waltham, MA, Anne Steinhaus (Daniel) of Fairway, KS; 9 grandchildren; three siblings Terry Xavier (Bonny) of The Villages, Albert “Sol” Hamel (Cathy Lacoste) of Fairhaven, MA, Sue Hayden Lambalot (Dennis) of Seattle, WA, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Paul graduated from the Seminaire de Joliette in 1964 (BA- University of Montreal) and received his law degree from Boston College in 1967. He proudly served in the Marine Corps for 2 years. Paul was an active member of the community in New Bedford, MA for over 40 years before moving to Florida. He served on the Governor’s Council and on the New Bedford City Council representing Ward 1. He was a founding partner of the law firm Hamel, Waxler, Allen, and Collins. Paul also dabbled in real estate and was very active in efforts to establish a casino in New Bedford. He served on the Board of Sacred Heart Home for many years as well as the Board of the Schwartz Center (now Meeting Street) where he was chairman for a term.

Kind and big-hearted, Paul was a devoted husband, a loving father, grandfather (“Papa Smooth”), brother, and uncle, and a faithful friend to many including his ski buddies, poker buddies, and former classmates. In fact, he never met anyone he didn’t consider a friend, and was quick to offer help to anyone in need.

He loved dancing and singing (especially in French), good wine, good food, and a good (often dirty) joke. He was the life of every party and had a particular knack for using humor to lighten any situation. He loved to swim, sail, and ski, and passed those loves on to his children and grandchildren. 

Endlessly curious, always tinkering, and never one to shy away from a challenge, Paul could often be found working on household tasks ranging from the mundane (mowing the lawn) to the ambitious (installing a jacuzzi tub or setting up a television/stereo/DVR remote system that no one but he could operate). We’d sometimes laugh at his whimsies – the old cars, the satellite dish, the neon signs in the backyard – but they always had a purpose, even if just to make us smile. 

Paul left his mark on the world, and on everyone who met him. We are all better for having known him, and we will miss him terribly.

A celebration of Paul’s life will take place at a funeral Mass at St. John Neumann Church, 157 Middleboro Road, Freetown, MA at 10:00 am on Friday, August 12. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Meeting Street School (meetingstreet.org) or the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).


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  1. David & Ali Lagesse posted an image:
    02 Aug 2022
    Our last Pat's game together. We had such great times watching our Pat's! We even had a "perfect' season for over a year, never losing a game when we watched it together! Miss you terribly. ❤
    Our last Pat's game together. We had such great times watching our Pat's! We even had a "perfect' season for over a year, never losing a game when we watched it together! Miss you terribly. ❤

  2. Constance Sauve-Soares says:
    01 Aug 2022
    My deepest sympathies to the entire Hamel family. Paul was a great man for sure, and I know he will be sadly missed by family, colleagues, and friends. Connie Sauve-Soares.

  3. Margot Burbach says:
    27 Jul 2022
    In Louise Dionne Knowlan’s photograph, Paul and Albert had not changed much the first day they arrived at the Séminaire the Joliette. This how I remember them. They were so young. How difficult it must have been for Dr. and Mrs Hamel to part with sons for so many months at a time.

    Interestingly, I have a cousin by the name of Louise Dionne as well. She lives in Montreal.


    Margot (Dionne) Burbach

  4. Louise Dionne Knowlan posted an image:
    27 Jul 2022
    First Day of School 1952-Louise, Al, Margo, Sue, Paul, Terry
    First Day of School 1952-Louise, Al, Margo, Sue, Paul, Terry

  5. Louise Dionne Knowlan says:
    27 Jul 2022
    My cousin Paul. Where do I begin? We started kindergarten together at St. Joseph’s French grammar school in New Bedford. I think we were only four years old!? We were in the same classroom every year -to seventh grade we were in the same classroom!! My buddy. Always there -until eighth grade . . . that morning on the first day of school, he was In the other classroom! When I arrived home for lunch, I told my mother. She instantly picked up the telephone and called the convent to speak to the boss, Mere Superiere. Yea! There we were, in the same classroom again, with Soeur Marie Clothilde no less, our ninth and last year together. Be still my heart.

    Paul and I received our First Communion together, we made our Confirmation together, we graduated together from eighth grade, we even had a graduation picture taken together at a photographer’s studio. The end of our school years -together.
    I remember in seventh grade when we had a spelling bee, all standing around the room. Paul always won, I was always so proud of him. Except this one time, he misspelled his last word and had to sit down. Shattered, I cried. For him.

    When he left in the fall for his first year at Le Seminaire de Joliette, Canada! I cried. I was losing my dearest cousin friend. When he returned for summer vacation, I cried happy tears.
    I was not the only sad one though. Betty, his shadow, would lie in the driveway for a couple of days waiting for her best friend to return. Poor Betty!
    One Christmas, he sent me a gift from Joliette. I still have it. It’s in my ‘box of special things’. It’s a diary type book with flowered covers and a lock on it.

    Yes, we always knew where Paul was, as Cousin Dick mentioned. I laughed because one memory I have is Betty jumping in the lake following Paul when he went out in the motorboat. Paul had to turn around to get her back on land or pull her into the boat. I think we were all smiling or laughing when that often happened.

    The Six all got married and had children. Paul and Carolyn are Godparents to my Kurt,
    and I became Godmother to their Anne, born just three months apart.

    When my family went through a life-altering circumstance, Paul was right there for me and my kids, helping in all the ways he could. He was supportive, loving, so kind and caring. We were invited to the many get-togethers they were always having, or just to ‘hang out’’ to go in the pool, a cookout. A Mothers Day Concert was organized, and the young artists played -the trumpet (David), flute (Julie and Kim), cello (Kristy and Kate), piano (Anne, Sara Allen, Duet by Liz and Carolyn), drums (Peter), and ‘grill’, burgers, hot dogs, and linguica (Paul). Life went on. I still have the ‘playbill’.

    It broke my heart to see him last summer, the last time I saw him. I could not understand what he said, he spoke so fast, so soft. That is not the last memory of Paul I keep. I think of all the good memories of the ‘six’ of us, Terry, Paul, Al, Sue, Louise and Margo, playing at the Cottage every summer. We were brought up like brothers and sisters, during school months crossing Wood Street to play, or to watch Howdy Doody, and at the Cottage for the summer months, swimming at the Mathieus, fishing with safety pins off the pier, and swinging on the tree vine we found in the woods. One summer, or two, Paul was the ‘priest’ who presided over the marriage of his cousins, and gave out communion (Necco wafers). We held carnivals and put on shows. Most nights we were in ‘the swing’ singing our hearts out in French and English, One Hundred Bottles Of Beer On The Wall. Oh what fun we had!!
    Paul and I sat the same way, with bended knees flat on the floor, the other four could not do that. We got the best tans, so dark. We also had poison ivy together, for three maybe four summers?

    Yes, life goes on, we did not see much of each other as our kids went to college, then the busy years of graduations; we shared many weddings though, then the grandchildren came. Some years we saw each other at Christmas, always at Paul’s and Carolyn’s of course.

    We had a ‘50’s dinner with our mothers in Scituate. We all made a meal that they cooked in our young days. There were baked beans and hot pot and French meat pie, etc. We celebrated Matante Pauline’s 88th birthday (Feb) and my mother’s 89th (Jan) with two birthday cakes. They were born eleven months apart and were always very close, the two youngest daughters of six.

    We all have our own many good memories with Paul to carry us forth. He loved surrounding himself with family and friends.

    He so loved his family. He and Carolyn made a wonderful team. She had/has a wonderful sense of humor, and knew just how to smooth ‘earth shattering crises’ with the kids and Paul. He was a thoughtful and affirming husband and a wonderful father as his children attest to.

    I have the many memories that Paul and I shared together for so many years.
    Just knowing he is gone from us is painful, but I know he is in Good Hands, and singing the many French songs he and my mom loved to sing together from their own days at school in Canada.

    Je t’aime Oddball!
    De Screwball
    A demain . . .

  6. Margot Burbach says:
    26 Jul 2022
    Dear Carolyn and family

    I am very sorry for your loss. I was very saddened to hear from Albert that Paul passed away.

    I have always kept very fond memories of the Hamel family. In her letter, Julia describes her father’s qualities and personality very well as this is how I will always remember Paul. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, Albert, Terry, Sue and the entire Hamel family at this difficult time.

    Sincerest condolences,

    Margot Burbach

  7. Dick Hamel says:
    24 Jul 2022
    Our summers on Long Pond were filled with friends, ,family and lots of fun ; family for us kids meaning Paul,Al Terry,Sue,Louise,” littleMargo” , and my sisters & brothers and me - all being there sharing in swimming,water skiing, boating, excursions to the island & to Cathedral Camp .When BarbaraAnn,Rollie( Whitey) and Mary/Margaret came up it was a special treat and addition to our summer.
    Paul went absolutely nowhere without Betty for so many years. He was always one step ahead of us- first to slalom ski- but then encouraging us all to do it.
    When he began Cat sailing on the lake I saw how involved he was with his kids- “ his crew” he called them to me . He fostered them my example. Paul had a gift of making everyone who came into the Hamel family feel welcome & at ease. Keeping in touch with all of us mattered to him . Our children & our granddaughters got to meet so many of the Hamel Clans thanks to the family reunion he & Al ( Sol) made happen - with a lot of help for sure . Rest In Peace Mon Cousin

  8. Terry says:
    23 Jul 2022
    My brother, my friend. I miss you dearly. Rest easy, mon p'tit frere.

  9. Nora lit a candle:
    22 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 22, 2022 at 7:16:57 PM

  10. Dorcas Hauser says:
    22 Jul 2022
    I only saw Paul a few times but he was so genial that you felt like you had always known him. I am so sorry he had to leave us. Our deepest sympathy to Carolyn and the family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Dorcas and Kenneth

  11. Nicole Lamson lit a candle:
    21 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 21, 2022 at 7:57:35 PM

  12. Michel Dionne says:
    21 Jul 2022
    Cher Albert, quelle triste nouvelle que l'annonce du décès de Paul à un âge qui ne lui a pas permis de bien profiter d'une pleine retraite bien méritée. A toi, ta famille, Carolyn, épouse de Paul et tous leurs enfants, Suzanne , Thérèse ainsi qu'a tous les membres de la grande famille Albert et Pauline Hamel toutes mes sympathies. Dans un tel malheur on trouve un adoucissement à penser que dans les derniers moments de Paul, il était entouré de sa famille.
    Au cours de dernières années j'ai eu l'occasion de lui parler à quelque reprises au téléphone et de le rencontrer lors de sa participation au "conventum" de sa classe: il était toujours aussi charmant et bienveillant.
    Cet événement douloureux ravive de fraternels souvenirs impérissables avec toi, Paul, ton père, ta mère et mes parents.
    Il y a plusieurs années et par un heureux hasard j'ai eu le bonheur de croiser Paul sur une plage quasi déserte de la Guadeloupe; il était en vacances dans une villa de Mme Rivier et il me semble y avoir aussi rencontrer ta mère.
    Amitiés.
    Michel Dionne

  13. David Waxler says:
    21 Jul 2022
    Paul exuded a quiet confidence that brought calmness and serenity to any room. From the day he created our law firm on the back of a cocktail napkin, to long after his retirement, his spirit was the soul and guiding light of our lawyering. He held simple truths dearly: Fairness and equality to those around him.

    He was a pleasure to know, and a humble mentor as well.

  14. Liz Hamel posted an image:
    20 Jul 2022


  15. Sol posted an image:
    20 Jul 2022
    Siblings Paul, Terry, Sue, Sol at Terry’s in the Villages 1/28/2019
    Siblings Paul, Terry, Sue, Sol at Terry’s in the Villages 1/28/2019

  16. Sol posted an image:
    20 Jul 2022
    Paul and Carolyn, sister Terry and Bonny, brother Sol, cousin Michele and Paul Gliha in the Villages. April, 2021
    Paul and Carolyn, sister Terry and Bonny, brother Sol, cousin Michele and Paul Gliha in the Villages. April, 2021

  17. Ali & David lit a candle:
    20 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 20, 2022 at 7:31:11 PM

  18. Dorcas&KennethHauser says:
    20 Jul 2022
    Carolyn and Family. So very sorry to hear about Paul. He was such a fine and friendly person. Just sorry we lived too far to see each other much. Always loved all the Walkers and the wonderful times we have had together. Thinking of you and your family. Love you. Dorcas & Kennetjy

  19. Heather Anderson lit a candle:
    20 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 20, 2022 at 7:45:30 PM

  20. Thomas Walker says:
    20 Jul 2022
    Carolyn and family so sorry to hear about Paul. I remember visiting all of you at New Bedford and remember how nice Paul was. I wish I could have spent more time with him. I will always have fond memories of Paul and the trip.

  21. Jacques Houle says:
    20 Jul 2022
    Un message pour Albert.

    Cher Albert, à toi et à ta famille, toute ma sympathie. Que de beaux souvenirs! Même externe, j'ai bien connu Paul. Je pense à l'aventure des Explos ... nous avons fait du théâtre ... nous avons partagé quelques bons cigares autour de folles conversations. Un chic type!

    Il est maintenant dans le versant de la lumière!

    Amitiés,
    Jacques Houle, c.s.v.

  22. David Girard posted an image:
    19 Jul 2022
    At the Hamel family reunion - 2014
    At the Hamel family reunion - 2014

  23. Josh Hamel says:
    19 Jul 2022
    We’ll miss you, Uncle Paul. Rest In Peace, and know that those of who remember you will be telling stories about you for the rest of our lives

  24. yvan lamonde says:
    19 Jul 2022
    J'ai beaucoup pensé à Paul ces derniers jours. Je garde le souvenir d'un chic type avec qui on pouvait ne pas être d'accord, mais qui permettait toujours la discussion, le débat.
    Mes condoléances à Carolyn qui nous a si gentiment reçus et à Albert, autre chic type de la famille de New Bedford dont j'ai connu les parents vers 1966.
    Amitiés à sa grande famille.
    Dr Yvan Lamonde

  25. Sue (Hamel) Lambalot lit a candle:
    19 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 19, 2022 at 7:06:52 PM

  26. Sue (Hamel) Lambalot says:
    19 Jul 2022
    Good by and Godspeed my fishing buddy, my water skiing partner and my big brother. Rest In Peace with the angels. Love you forever.
    Your baby sis,
    Sue

  27. Julia Purrington (Hamel) posted an image:
    19 Jul 2022
    Skiing with Paul and Alex - 3 generations on one lift
    Skiing with Paul and Alex - 3 generations on one lift

  28. Julia Purrington (Hamel) says:
    19 Jul 2022
    Dear Dad
    Our Papa Smooth. What an amazing life you had. It’s easy to look at the surface and see that you must have done something right. Your 4 children are all happy, successful by any definition of the word, and each living our best lives with our own amazing families. You taught us so much, including when to make a calculated decision, and just as importantly, when to live with your heart first and figure out the details later. Of course your best decision was finding Mom who was always the queen of those details. The two of you could not have made better partners in life.
    You definitely lived your life with your heart leading the way. And a what a great heart it was. You never turned anyone away. Whether they were in need of a ride, or a meal, or a good joke, you were always at the ready. You taught us all how important it is not to judge a person without knowing their story and how to help those less fortunate. I will never forget how you would reach out to help just about anyone. From your days on City Council and leading your law firm, you taught how to be a businessman and leader with kindness and grace and you later took those skills to the board at Sacred Heart and the Schwartz Center.

    In your every-day life, you taught us not to take anything for granted. You embraced every day at the pond, either water skiing or sailing, swimming or fishing. And when the snow came, you taught us all to ski. You opened so many doors in our lives that we didn’t know existed. And how different each of your children turned out. With a few similarities. We all love and appreciate our family first. We are all better people for being raised by such a kind and gentle man.

    You have always been my prince. You led me to Colorado. You helped me leave my intimidation behind when I wanted to start my own engineering firm. Never would I have every thought of myself as an “entrepreneur”. That was for other people. Until, when I left my job at an engineering firm and told you that I could do better, you encouraged me to simply start my own firm. After my bike accident, when I needed a new career, I never would have considered Real Estate… except you did it for a short period and and now I have found a wonderful home and family in my career in real estate in Colorado.
    Not only will your memories live in my heart, YOU will be kept alive in my soul. Every time I put on my skis, every time I jump in the pool, every time I try something new, I will know that you are with me.
    I love you and miss you, Dad
    Love Julia

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