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.