Hazel (Gregory) Lundbech, 98, of Bristol


BRISTOL — Hazel (Gregory) Lundbech left this life gently and peacefully in the home she shared with her daughter and son-in-law, on Jan. 24, 2023. She was 98 years old.

Hazel Madge Gregory was born in Leyton, London, England, on Sept. 27, 1924. Her father, William was a printer, and her mother, Marie Rose (Hellyer) was a homemaker. She had a sister Pearl, born in 1913, and a brother Arthur, born in 1920. They remained fond and admiring of each other until the end.

Sadly, her mother died of asthma complications when Hazel was two, and an aunt moved in to care for the children until her father remarried several years later. Anna Nolan, her Irish stepmother, was a devoted and wonderful woman who brought stability and warmth to the household, and Hazel flourished under her care.

Shortly before her 15th birthday, England declared war on Germany, and after the quiet months of the “Phony War” as it was called, the bombing of London began in earnest. Every evening, when the siren rang out, her family, the downstairs neighbors, and their pets would descend to the “Anderson Shelter” in the backyard — where everyone stayed until the all clear was sounded in the morning. Like many British people, Hazel always downplayed the fear and tension of the nightly bombings. When asked about how she managed, she would laugh and say, “Oh, well, you just got on with it — what were you going to do?”

As an older teenager she was a fire-bomb watcher in Leyton, spotting for fires after the incendiary bombs had fallen, and did many watches with her (now married) sister. At nineteen she applied and was accepted into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known as the WRENS,) and after training she was stationed in Plymouth, Devon for the remainder of the war.

At 26 she met and fell in love with our exuberant, musical, book-loving father, Raymond Lundbech — and they were married a year to the day they met. Over the next four years they had two children, a daughter and a son. In 1958 the family moved out of London to a small town, Rayleigh, and onto a dead-end street, where they met neighbors who would be friends forever.

In 1964 the family, along with their nextdoor neighbor friends emigrated to the United States, where at 40 Hazel began a whole new chapter of her life.

Hazel was a social, lively, many-talented woman. She worked as a bookkeeper until retirement, but also kept a cozy home, cooked delicious meals, embroidered, knit, made lovely clothes, and enjoyed crafting. She loved to read, laugh, sing, and she played piano beautifully. She loved all social get-togethers — especially if singing was involved!

In her 60s she took up oil painting, and before long was exhibiting and selling her lovely paintings.

In her mid-80s, Hazel and Ray moved to Vermont to be near her daughter and son-in-law. She made the move with great enthusiasm and could not have loved Vermont more — always exclaiming at how lucky she felt to finish her life in such a beautiful place.

Several years after Ray had died she moved across Bristol to Basin Street where she was welcomed into our home to spend the last three years of her life.

Hazel was predeceased by her parents, Marie Rose and William; stepmother, Ann; husband, Raymond; her sister, Pearl; brother, Arthur; and a grandson, Christiaan. She leaves a daughter, Deborah Lundbech, (Brian King) a son, Nicholas Lundbech, (Ann), six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

There will be a celebration of Hazel’s life in the late spring or summer.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation for the kindness and friendliness provided to Hazel by Project Independence. We are also deeply grateful to Addison County Home Health and Hospice for their help in her last days.◊


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