Florence (Hoey) Lavelle, 89, a long-time resident of Wilbraham, passed away with dignity and grace at Baystate Medical Center on July 6. Her family maintained a bedside vigil during the past week to ensure she was not alone. She was born to the late Richard and Catherine Hoey on March 13, 1930 in Springfield. At the age of 16, Flo met her future husband Edward J. Lavelle when they both worked at the Paramount Theater as usherette and usher. This past year they celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. Flo worked for many years at MassMutual, but left after starting a family. When her children were older she worked in the main plant of Friendly Ice Cream Corp. in Wilbraham. At first, she worked in food production and later as a secretary for the truck drivers who delivered the ice cream to shops and stores across the Northeast. She retired in 1989.
Flo leaves behind her beloved husband Ed and their loving children Donna A, Pevay, Peter J. Lavelle and his wife Lynn F. Lavelle, all of Wilbraham, her wonderful grandchildren, Scott J. Pevay and his wife Missy A. Pevay of East Longmeadow, Caitlin L. Sample and her husband John R. Sample of Wilbraham, and sisters-in-law Shirley Dashnaw of Wilbraham and Margaret Hoey of Agawam, and her dear friend of 72 years Betty Hervieux of Springfield. In addition GiGi (Great Grandma) leaves behind the two lights of her life, her great granddaughters, Abby J. Pevay and Lilly G. Sample, who brought unbounded joy to her life. Also her fur-baby Annie the rescue cat. In addition to her parents, she is predeceased by her brothers Richard L. Hoey of West Springfield and James J. Hoey and sister-in-law Patricia M. Hoey of Blandford. She was also predeceased by her daughter Linda Lee Lavelle, whom she affectionately called Linny Pooh, who died at the age of 7 in 1965.
The world truly lost a bright light when Flo passed. The biggest passions in her life were her family, her friends, all children and animals. Her empathy and compassion were unparalleled. A loyal and true friend she was the type of person you could always count on to lend a hand when problems occurred. In addition to her many long-time friendships, she volunteered her time and energy to many organizations. She was a volunteer Sunday School teacher at the Foster Memorial Protestant Church in Sixteen Acres which was quite a feat considering Flo was raised in a strict Irish Catholic family! Her need to be with children was fulfilled during her weekly volunteer days at the LEAP Preschool of the Quabbin Regional School District in an integrated classroom where her daughter-in-law taught. At the Red Cross Blood Donation Center, she assisted the nurses and provided refreshments to blood donors. Her love of animals, including her pets, was evident at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Hampden where she answered telephones and helped with events. One of her favorite volunteer efforts was the annual Friendly Golf Tournament. For the past two decades Flo spent a lot of time at the Senior Center in Wilbraham. She started a lending library of donated books, which she has maintained for years. Her love of quilting motivated her to start a Quilting Club at the Senior Center, which also held a yearly Quilt Show. While at the Senior Center she proudly participated in weight training exercise classes, where she met and maintained many wonderful and dear friendships.
Flo had unwavering love and devotion for her husband, her children, her grandchildren and great granddaughters. They meant the world to her. Flo and Ed’s home was a house they built together by hand. After working all day and reading books in the library about home construction at night, they would lug cinder blocks, erect walls and hammer nails. It truly was their home. They enjoyed annual trips to the beach, lunch at various restaurants, gardening and spending time with family. She was never happier than when she was cuddling a child in her lap. She played Tonka trucks with her son, played and sewed Barbie clothes with her daughter, played ball and painted with her grandson, and taught her granddaughter how to quilt. She told family stories and took her granddaughter Abby to Friendly’s and decorated cookies and played nail salon with Lilly.
The family wishes to thank the staff members at the following facilities: Mercy Medical Center, the Sosin Center at JGS, Baystate Medical Center and Baystate Hospice Services and especially Spectrum Home Health, for their professional care and compassion.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in Flo’s memory can be made to Dakin Humane Society, 171 Union Street, Springfield MA 01105 or Shriners Hospital for Children, 516 Carew Street, Springfield MA 01104.
Family and friends are invited to Wilbraham Funeral Home on 2551 Boston Road on Tuesday, July 9 from 5-7 p.m. for a period of visitation. A service while be held there the following morning at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Park Cemetery, 895 Parker Street, Springfield.
To send flowers to Florence's family, please visit our floral section.