Hazel Laura Beals CASTLETON — Hazel Laura Beals, 95, died peacefully Feb. 26, 2019, at Our House in Rutland. Hazel was born at home on Sept. 20, 1923, in Pownal, daughter of Harry and Laura (Pratt) Beals. She attended Oak Hill Elementary School and was a 1941 graduate of Bennington High School. Hazel earned a Bachelor of Education degree from Castleton Normal School in 1944 and a Bachelor of Science from Castleton Teachers College in 1949. She taught elementary students at Poultney Elementary School and Castleton Village School and later, became a social worker employed first by the Department of Social Welfare in Rutland and then for Vermont Achievement Center, working with families and students with special needs, also in Rutland. During this time, she pursued advanced studies in social work at the University of Connecticut. Hazel made a home in Castleton with her lifelong friend and companion, Agnes O’Neill. They enjoyed many years together on Lake Bomoseen, where they were part of a close community of friends, and spent many winters together in Litchfield Beach, South Carolina. An active outdoorswoman well into her later years, Hazel loved all things nature, gardening, birding and enjoying the lake year-round, whether by boat or ice fishing. When not outdoors, Hazel employed her considerable talents as a seamstress, quilter and organist. A dedicated parishioner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Castleton, Hazel led the congregation in hymns at the organ for more than 50 years. She was a charter member of St. John’s Altar Society and the Lake Bomoseen Association. She belonged to the Castleton Women’s Club and the Maple Leaf Quilters and served on the board of the Lake Bomoseen Association. Hazel was predeceased by her parents; her siblings Harry Jr., Allen, Harriet, Barbara, and their spouses; a nephew, Fred Bishop; and by Agnes. She is survived by many nieces and nephews, including members of the O’Neill family, who considered her one of their own. Hazel’s family thanks the staff at Our House for their kindness and caring in Hazel’s final years. Calling hours will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at Durfee Funeral Home, 119 North Main St., Fair Haven. A funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Monday, March 4, at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Castleton. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. John the Baptist Church, P.O. Box 128, Castleton, VT 05735; or the Rutland County Humane Society, 765 Stevens Road, Pittsford, VT 05763.

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What an amazing woman and role model Aunt Hazel was for everyone. On our annual visits to Vermont each summer, her NC nephew, Allen Beals Jr's family, learned Hazel was able to play the piano and the organ at the Catholic Church, to quilt, to sew slipcovers, to hem pants, to plant vegetables and flower gardens, to ice fish, feed the birds, make maple syrup, enjoy sailing on Lake Boomoseen, to win boat races and golf matches, and to enjoy the Lake's social life with Agnes. She loved her hummingbirds, was always environmentally aware, and always displayed her American flag prominently on the deck overlooking the Lake. We also learned of her love, care and work with children with special needs and her devotion as a alumnae of Castleton College, Pownal Methodist church and St John the Baptist Catholic Church.. Her sharing and telling of Harry W Beals family history through her many pictures, gave our family an important part of the Beals family's history. She shared many memories that made us know too, as an educator, Hazel was a true, dedicated, and loving teacher and friend to her students, but most of all she was a quiet and strong pioneer leader in her community. Hazel always made us feel we were an important connection in her family, but most of all she shared her LOVE for the Allen Beals family after Allen Sr and Allen Jr's passing. We remember how much she loved picking blueberries, hiking, feeding the birds, and eating her own home cooked sweets. Our family enjoyed bringing her vegetables from our Southern garden when we visited. Her gardens always seems to be better than ours.. She was a true role model for any successful woman today and we admired her love for everyone. We will truly miss this remarkable woman. Our thanks to Mary Waite and her family who have cared for Hazel since Agnes O'Neill's death.
Our Love to all and regret we are unable to attend her funeral. Heaven's gate swung wide open when Hazel arrived to be with her father and mother, brothers and sisters and nephews. Sure that God wrapped his loving arms around Hazel and said "thank you, good and faithful servant Hazel".

Allen Mason Beals Jr Family, Hazel's deceased oldest nephew's family. Cary NC

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