Alice Pat(Hamel)Kustra, age 93, passed away on June 12, 2019, at The Arbors in Shelburne, VT. Alice (or Pat, as she was known in VT) was born to Stephen Joseph and Julia Walsh Martin on January 29, 1926 in NYC.
Pat was married to Aubert J. (Bill) Hamel and raised her three children after moving to Vergennes, VT. Despite the challenges of losing her hearing at the age of 29, she worked as an LPN, then obtained her RN from Jeanne Mance School of Nursing. She later received her B.S. in nursing from Trinity College. Nursing became her focused career, with experience in all phases of nursing. Alice subsequently decided to further her education by getting her Master’s in Social Work from Adelphi University. She worked at Mary Fletcher and Porter Hospitals, at PSRO and as a nursing home administrator, as a school nurse in Vergennes, as well as for SRS in VT and DCF and hospice in FL. Alice loved being a nurse but found her liberation in her artwork. For decades, her children’s and grandchildren’s birthdays were enrichened by her watercolor paintings on the birthday cards she composed. Alice was known in the family as Gaga, and her special recipe for relish carries that moniker. After retiring to Florida, Alice dedicated her talents to creating religious scenes that ultimately became the stained glass windows in the church she attended, Trinity Methodist Church in Wesley Chapel, FL. She then went on to complete a larger stained glass window project on a second church.That part of her work as an artist lasted 9 years during which she referred to it as “The Lord’s Work.”
Pat is survived by her husband Joseph Kustra of Zephyrhills, FL, children: Patricia (Hamel) Austin, Stephen J. Hamel and his wife Barbara, Michael J. Hamel and his wife Deborah. Gaga is also survived by her grandchildren: Julia Austin and husband Jeffrey Chapman, Alice Austin and husband Ross Johnson, Alison Hamel, Erika Hamblett and husband Marcus, Adam Hamel and Heather Kehler, Jennifer Jarvis and husband Chris, and Robert Hamel, great-grandchildren: Chase Hamblett, Chelsea and Michael Jarvis, and Eleanor Hamel. Alice also leaves a number of cherished nieces and nephews.
Alice Patricia was predeceased by husband Aubert (Bill) Hamel, her parents and her siblings: Vincent, Ellen, Robert, Julia, George and Jane.
Alice had a beautiful, tender singing voice, was a skilled and compassionate nurse, a fabulous artist and a wonderful mother. She touched the lives of many, and will be dearly missed. Her family is eternally grateful to the wonderful staff at The Arbors for their skilled and loving care of our beloved Alice.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, July 6th 2019 at 2:00 PM at the Brown McClay Funeral Home at 48 South Maple Street, Vergennes, VT. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Alice’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association.