BURLINGTON — On April 30, 2020, Our angel was brought to heaven. Our beautiful wife, mother, grandmother, sitto, great grandmother, friend, “Umpto” Theresa was relieved of her earthly duties. We have been blessed for 84 wonderful years with her gracious smile, infectious laugh and warm love.
Theresa was born May 26, 1935 in beautiful Newport, Vermont where the family lived on the Lake Memphremagog south bay with her parents the late Thomas and Louise Menard Handy. She was the second of eleven children where the family operated the Newport Ice Company until they moved to Burlington in 1952. She graduated from Cathedral High School and was employed by her uncle Ernest Handy at the State Theatre in downtown Burlington. This is where she met the young, part-time projectionist James Emery Gamache of Winooski. They courted for three months, then married on February 5, 1955 and started their 65 year journey together. They bought their first and only home in Burlington, and shortly after, the two of them created a family with seven children. Her simple loves in life were Sunday drives after church, cooking, holidays and big family gatherings, spending days out on the boat on Lake Champlain with Jim, days at the beach with the kids, family vacations on the bay at the old homestead in Newport, as well as, just relaxing and laughing by the pool with her longtime neighbors, Bob and Margaret Poirier.
Theresa kept very busy throughout her life as wife, mother, chef, bank teller, bookkeeper, caregiver, a mentor for all. When “the kids” became self-sufficient, she and a few of her siblings embarked on running a mom and pop store, and acquired Handy’s Grocery and Deli on King Street in Burlington where she helped operate the store until it was sold in 1988. She oversaw the family rental properties and cared for her aging parents.
Along with her husband, Theresa is survived by four daughters, Victoria (Marc) Scichitano of Hawaii, Debra (Terrence) Case pf Florida, Kimberly Gamache (Scott) of Vermont and Virginia (Bruce) Righi ofVermont and three sons, James Gamache of Texas, Theodore (Elizabeth) Gamache of Vermont and Paul Gamache (Summer Dwyer) of Hawaii and close family friend Vince Hampson. She is also survived by 14 grandchildren Emily (David) Bradbury, Tyler Case (Joe), Teddy (Taylor) Gamache, Adam (Griselda) Scichitano, Heather Gamache, Mike Gamache, Amanda Scichitano, Matt (Erin) Gamache, Ashley Gamache, Alysa Gamache, Alex Gamache, Gaby Gamache, Robert Gamache and Emery Gamache . As well as 10 great grandchildren, Case, Will, Dominic, Aubrey, Noah, Chase, Emery, Morgan, McKenzie and Gianna.
Theresa is also survived by her sisters Anita Aguiar, Percy (Arnold) Brassard, Bernadette (Jim) Caffery, Mary Farrell, brothers Joseph, Raymond, Tony and Michael. In addition to her parents, Theresa is predeceased by her brother Peter Handy, brother -in-law Waldo Aguiar and sister and brother-in-law Elizabeth and John Finnegan and her beloved pets Mort and Sam.
Theresa is survived by her in-laws, Sue Gamache, Jerry (Mary) Gamache, Andrea (Skip) Irish, and Gary Payea, and Marianna Gamache and predeceased by Paul(Celey) Gamache, Dick Gamache, Clem (Barbara) Gamache, Theresa Payea, Claire(Bill) Burdick and Rena (John) Aussant and Annette Gamache.
For the past four years of Theresa’s life, she was under the warm, loving care of the Birchwood Terrace Rehab and Healthcare Memory Care facility. Our father Jim and the whole Gamache family cannot thank these true unsung heroes for the loving care they gave not only to our mother, but our father, as well. Never a visit passed that the staff at Birchwood did not welcome our father as part of their family. Dad looked forward to the holiday luncheons and special events that he was able to share with his best friend. He always felt Mom was loved by all of the staff at Birchwood. We would especially like to thank Rachael, Keshia, Michelle, Sheana, Jiselle, Cheryl, Alan and Lincoln and all the folks for always going beyond the call of duty. As Mom would say, “you’re the queens and kings.” You are truly special people. Thank you!!!
In lieu of flowers please donate, and if at all possible, volunteer some of your time to Birchwood Terrace Rehab and Healthcare Memory Care facility.