EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 7, 2012

Rita R. (Gagne) Lafontaine Hamel, 97

Methuen — Rita R. (Gagne) Lafontaine Hamel, 97, of Methuen, died peacefully Sunday, November 4 in Methuen.

Rita, daughter of the late Alphonse and Sarah (Bedard) Gagne, was born in Methuen on May 11, 1915.

She lived in Pelham, N.H. for 17 years where she raised eight children while farming alongside her husband, Joseph Lafontaine. She was very active in St. Patrick’s Parish in Pelham, N.H. where she was choir director, organist and soloist. She moved to Methuen prior to her retirement to be close to her church and the Methuen Senior Center with whom she shared her musical talent and also her sewing skills. Several years ago, Rita wrote her memoirs called “Stepping Stones of My Life.”

Rita was a communicant of the former St. Anne’s Church of Lawrence and the former Mt. Carmel Church of Methuen, a communicant of Our Lady of Good Counsel - St. Theresa Parish in Methuen and a member of the 3rd Order of Mary. She was very involved with the Methuen Senior Citizens and the Happy Hearts Singers.

Rita will be deeply missed by her children, Sylvia Lanouette of Salem, N.H., Dorothy Zazopoulos of Methuen, Loretta Curtis of Methuen, Robert Lafontaine of Kingston, N.H., Claire Carrasco of New Mexico, Janet Lavoie of Deerfield, N.H., and Denise Michaud of Salem, N.H.; seven stepchildren, 29 grandchildren, 53 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her first husband, Joseph J. Lafontaine who died in 1971; her second husband, Joseph Hamel who died in 1984; one daughter, Carol Stowers of Derry, N.H. and three stepsons.

ARRANGEMENTS: Family and friends are invited to attend her Funeral Mass in Our Lady of Good Counsel - St. Theresa Parish, 22 Plymouth St., Methuen on Friday November 9 at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Elmwood Cemetery, Methuen. Calling hours will be Thursday, November 8 from 4-8 p.m. in the Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home, 233 Lawrence St., Methuen. Those who wish to remember Rita by making a memorial contribution in her memory are kindly asked to consider the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1905 or the Methuen Senior Center, 77 Lowell St., Methuen, MA 01844. For directions or to share a condolence with the family, please visit us at www.pollardfuneralhome.com or visit Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home on Facebook. Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home, Methuen is honored to assist the Hamel family with arrangements.