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Mary's Story

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Mary Anita Hamel of Norfolk, Virginia passed away at 79 on May 17, 2016.
Anita was born July 5, 1936 in Clarksville, MD, the oldest of 5 children.
Surviving her are her husband of 47 years, James A. "Art" Hamel, LTCDR U.S. Navy Retired; two of her sons, her two daughters, 7 grandchildren and great-granddaughter.
Anita was raised in Clarksville, MD, attended Trinity Prep School. She married her 1st husband, Hugh Smith and began a family. After divorcing in 1964 Anita began her career as an interior decorator in earnest, and her friend Bernice introduced Anita to her brother Art in 1968. Anita and Art soon married at Great Lakes Naval Base in Chicago, IL where they resided and raised their 2 boys until his final orders took them to Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1973. When Art met Anita he introduced her and her children to the joy of owning and showing horses. Besides raising horses Anita had an undying passion for gardening which she pursued by obtaining Nursery Management and Master Gardener certifications while living in Virginia Beach.
In 2005 Art and Anita purchased a ranch in Gainesville, Texas where their daughter, Sharon and her husband, Keith joined them, all working in the horse breeding industry. While living in the Southwest Anita continued her life-long passion for gardening and attempted to tame the Texas environment. During their years in Texas Anita endured strokes and many mini-strokes which, after almost 10 years, took their toll making it difficult for her to enjoy work or her leisure pursuits of gardening and bird watching.
In June of 2014 the Hamel's returned to Norfolk after her health had declined. When her situation worsened they moved in with their oldest daughter Susan's family in August of 2015.
Anita was talking with Art when she quietly went to sleep May 17, 2016.
Published on June 6, 2016
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