Hamel, Thomas Oliver - Age 82, of Fenton, died September 11, 2021 at his residence. Funeral mass will be celebrated 11 AM Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 600 N. Adelaide St., Fenton. Visitation will be held 4-8 PM Tuesday September 14 with a 6 PM Scripture service at Sharp Funeral Homes, Fenton Chapel, 1000 Silver Lake Road, Fenton, and visitation 10-11 AM Wednesday morning at the church before the mass.
The first-born child of a committed Catholic family, Tom left Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic grade school in River Rouge after the 8th grade and entered Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit to begin studies for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Over the next 12 years he would return home for visits as the family (and new siblings) grew to 9 children total. Ordained to the priesthood in 1965, Tom was stationed at various parishes and colleges in the Detroit area. One of his first was Christ The King where he served with other young religious, energetic disciples. Marlene Molinaro, an IHM nun who’s order focused on teaching, was among them. Tom and Marlene kept in touch and after both having left religious life began dating and eventually married in 1975. They moved to Fenton and became business partners with Tom’s brother Bob and his wife Elaine (owning such local businesses as Locke’s Party Shoppe, Oliver T’s, Century Beverage and Hamel Bros. Storage). They adopted two children, David and Jamie, and renovated a large family barn/cottage on Lake Fenton to raise them in. Tom’s passion for traveling took him and his wife, literally, around the world. They often traveled with Elder Hostel/Road Scholars to quench his curiosity of other cultures and people. Tom pretended to speak many languages (we often had to remind him that speaking Italian required more than an Italian accent) but he really only spoke English and Latin (which we had to remind him was considered a dead language). He was always proud to have been a priest and considered Sacred Heart Seminary his beloved alma mater the way the most devoted students loved their college.
Tom died of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 82 (not 103 which is what he told everyone who asked his age - followed by “I look pretty good for 103, don’t I?”). His parents were Luana (Liphardt) and Oliver Hamel and (as he was proud to say) was the oldest of nine children. Family and community were very important to Tom. He is survived by his wife Marlene, both his children, 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks to donate to The Alzheimer's Research Association or Medical Team Hospice.
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