Hazel (Gregory) Lundbech, 98, of Bristol

Hazel (Gregory) Lundbech, 98, of Bristol

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

Hazel Madge Gregory was born on September 27, 1924 in Leyton, London, England. 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 loved and admired each other to the end.

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

Shortly before her 15th birthday, England declared war on Germany, and after the quiet months of the so-called “phony war” the bombing of London began in earnest. Each night when the siren sounded, her family, downstairs neighbors, and pets would go down to the Anderson Shelter in the backyard — where they all stayed until the all-clear was sounded in the morning. Like many Britons, Hazel always downplayed the fear and tension of the night bombings. When asked how she did it, she laughed and said, “Oh, well, you just kept going — what are you up to?”

As an older teenager, she was a firebomb spotter in Leyton, looking for fires after the firebombs fell and doing many watches with her (now married) sister. At nineteen she applied and was accepted into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known as WRENS) and after her 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 exactly 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 from London to a small town, Rayleigh, and down a cul-de-sac where they met neighbors who would be friends forever.

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

Hazel was a sociable, lively woman of many talents. She worked as an accountant until she retired, but she also kept a comfortable home, cooked delicious meals, embroidered, knitted, sewed beautiful clothes and enjoyed handicrafts. She loved to read, laugh, sing and played the piano beautifully. She loved all social gatherings – especially when it came to singing!

She started oil painting in her 60’s and soon she was exhibiting and selling her beautiful paintings.

In their mid-80s, Hazel and Ray moved to Vermont to be near their daughter and son-in-law. She made the move with great enthusiasm and couldn’t have loved Vermont more — always exclaiming how lucky she was to end her life in such a beautiful place.

A few years after Ray’s death 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 deceased by her parents, Marie Rose and William; stepmother, Ann; husband, Raymond; her sister Pearl; brother Arthur; and a grandson, Christiaan. She is survived by a daughter, Deborah Lundbech, (Brian King), a son, Nicholas Lundbech, (Ann), six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

In late spring or summer, Hazel’s life is celebrated.

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

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