HANSON — The community is mourning the loss of Mary Margaret “Gret” Lozeau, 74, a dedicated teacher and community volunteer who died at her home, surrounded by her family on Thursday, Dec. 20.
She was a woman who lived by her favorite saying — “Be kind to someone who needs it,” as the Rev. Michael Hobson and her daughter, Teresa Santalucia, recalled during funeral services at St. Joseph the Worker Church Friday, Dec. 28.
In her reflection, Santalucia said her mother was a natural teacher who loved every day she spent in the classroom and a person who chose to love others and live every day with joy.
“I truly believe that everyone here has had the benefit of her life well-lived,” Santalucia said, relating how her mother felt she had lived a nearly perfect life. “She chose kindness every time. … Kindness was her mantra. It was her life’s lesson plan.”
Hobson related in his homily how Gret put her faith to work in her home and hometown.
“That lifelong teacher in her expresses someone that understood the importance in being an example for others … not only in word, but in deed as well,” Hobson said.
As a life-long parishioner of St. Joseph the Worker Church, Gret served as a Sodality Board Member and religious education teacher. An outstanding teacher for over 29 years, she was a member of Hanson Kiwanis and the Advisor for the Kiwanis-sponsored Hanson Middle School Builders Club, receiving a Kiwanis International Distinguished Service Award.
Those who knew her through her work with these organizations also felt Gret’s infinite capacity for kindness.
Dollars for Scholars President Michael Ganshirt remembered her great support for the program.
“I think it was an extension of her dedication to education and her commitment to students,” he said, noting how Lozeau had organized a holiday wreath fundraiser for DFS each year and had attended many other fundraising events. “She was just a very sweet person — someone you were always anxious to see and talk to. She was just a very nice person.”
Hanson Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett echoed Ganshirt’s sentiments.
“I knew Gret through Kiwanis and through her family,” said FitzGerald-Kemmett. “She was an incredibly kind, warm and caring person. She literally lit up any room she was in and I always felt better in her presence. The love she had for her family was boundless and they were her true source of joy. This world was simply a better place for her having been in it.”
State Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Duxbury, who represents Hanson remembered her dedication to family and community, as well.
“Gret represented the best of Hanson –– a dedication to community, family and service,” Cutler stated. “She will be dearly missed.”
Gret was a dedicated life-long teacher on many levels and in a variety of settings. She loved each of her students without reservation and the written comments and thank you notes from students and parents indicated their admiration and gratitude.
“Gret was long retired by the time I got to Hanson Middle,” Principal William Tranter said last week, noting that her commitment to the school extended past her retirement from the classroom. “After retirement she was active in the Kiwanis Builders Club. Gret had a great passion for helping others and through her efforts with the Builders Club she was able to instill the ideas of service to others and giving back to the community. The students learned a great deal from her example of service.”
Gret won many awards as a 4-H member and Plymouth County leader of 4-H, including the distinction of being a state sheep-shearing champion.
Lozeau was selected for a Massachusetts Learning Teacher Leader Award; the Whitman-Hanson Express newspaper featured her as the Hanson Citizen of the Year for 2011; and, she was elected (2004 to present) as a Trustee of the Hanson Public Library Foundation, serving as secretary.
Library Foundation President Linda Wall, who worked as a librarian at Hanson Middle School when Lozeau taught there, said her friend as a kind, loving and giving person.
“Those traits underlined everything she did, all her contributions to the community,” Wall said. “I was fortunate to know her as a friend and a colleague at Hanson Middle and a volunteer at the library.”
Lozeau’s work was unpretentious but top-quality, Wall said, noting that she had worked with Gret on projects to help make learning more exciting and relevant to students. Lozeau was first elected to the Library Trustees in 2004 and was a founding member of the Library Foundation in 2006, serving as a corresponding secretary since that time.
“She brought her wisdom to anything that was brought before the Library Trustees,” Wall said.
“She was always a pleasure to work with in both the [Hanson Library] Foundation and as a Trustee,” said Corinne Cofardo chairman of the Library Trustees. “She always had a generous smile. I remember her as a woman of inspiration who was always willing to help out.”
Cofardo also said Lozeau was a fun person who will be greatly missed at the library.
She will also be missed at the Hanson Senior Center, where the Builders Club students still work on projects with senior citizens.
“She was instrumental in creating opportunities for young people to engage with people of older generations,” Center Director Mary Collins said Monday, Dec. 31. “She saw this as an opportunity to bring the two generations together. … She recognized that people can benefit from interation from people of a different generation.”
Gret also loved the outdoors. While in Colorado with her husband, she was a first-place champion in racquetball tournaments, skied, and participated in tennis leagues and tournaments. In addition, she represented the University of Rochester as an admissions volunteer, served as a Channel 2 Auction volunteer, and also served as Secretary of the Cranberry Cove Boosters.