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Rhea Filion Hamel, 63, Columbia activistRhea Filion...


Rhea Filion Hamel, 63, Columbia activist

Rhea Filion Hamel, one of Columbia's pioneering residents and community activists, died of cancer Thursday at her home there. She was 63.

Born and raised in New Hampshire, Mrs. Hamel graduated in 1951 from Presentation of Mary, a Roman Catholic boarding school in Hudson, N.H. She married John E. Hamel in 1958 and moved with him in 1961 to Maryland, where he worked for a building company.

In 1968, the Hamels moved to Columbia, the "new town" that developer James W. Rouse and the Rouse Co. had opened one year before. They settled in the Village of Harper's Choice, where Mrs. Hamel earned a reputation as a community activist.

In Columbia's early years, she was an elected member of the Harper's Choice Village Board for two years before becoming an elected member of the Columbia Association board of directors. She also was one of the founders of the Longfellow Friends of a Traditional Fourth, producers of the Longfellow Fourth of July Parade.

Mrs. Hamel was involved in several committees of the Howard County Board of Education and local PTAs, the League of Women Voters and the Howard County Arts Council. She also was a founding partner of JK's Pub in Wilde Lake, Columbia's first neighborhood bar. After her marriage ended in 1984, she became a legal secretary in Columbia.

A memorial service will be held at Kahler Hall, at the Harper's Choice Community Center off Harpers Farm Road, at 12: 30 p.m. Wednesday.

Survivors include a daughter, Lynne A. Gaudet of Hanover, N.H.; a son, John E. Hamel Jr. of Newmarket; a sister, Ann Gagnon of Zephyrhills, Fla.; and five grandchildren.

Alexander George McCarthy Jr., a retired railroad brakeman, died Wednesday of leukemia at his home in Ellicott City. He was 85.

Born in Illinois, he moved with his family to Salisbury in 1928 after his father, a professional baseball player and manager, retired from the sport. After graduating from Wicomico High School in 1931, Mr. McCarthy joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, serving for two years in the Elkridge area of Patapsco State Park.

He married Emma Jones, a beautician from Salisbury, in 1937. They moved to the Baltimore area in 1939, when he was hired by the old Pennsylvania Railroad. He was a freight train brakeman ++ for 39 years, retiring in 1978.

Mr. McCarthy was an avid reader and historian, and his hobbies included singing. A tenor, he was a longtime member of the Barbershop Chorus of the Chesapeake, Patapsco Valley chapter.

In addition to his wife of 61 years, he is survived by two sons, Alexander G. McCarthy III of Baltimore and Jay P. McCarthy of Ellicott City; a sister, Mary Sample of Salisbury; and three grandchildren.

Services were held Friday.

Pub Date: 12/13/98

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