Carol Donovan Hulst

Carol Donovan Hulst

AMENIA — After 94 years of life well-lived, Carol Donovan Hulst passed peacefully away. Born in Chicago to Florence and Elmer Donovan, Carol spent most of her childhood in South Addison, Maine, with her dear older brother Raymond. As with many children of the Depression, she did not have an easy childhood, but it did teach her to value hard work and to save everything.

Reading and education were of great importance to her. She graduated high school at 16 and entered college at the University of Connecticut. After two years she left to marry Leland Hulst, Jr., a young veteran back from World War II. While raising their 5 children in Amenia, Carol finished college by going part-time for many years. She went on to earn her master’s degree and taught reading for the remainder of her career. She loved reading to children and instilled a love and respect for books and education in all of those she touched.

Carol weathered many storms with grace and good faith. She survived the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944, and endured divorce and the sudden loss of her eldest son Lee in 2022. Her youngest son, Curt, was diagnosed with two kinds of leukemia as a teenager, defining a pivotal time in both of their lives. Through many long and determined months together at Sloan-Kettering Hospital, Curt beat his less-than-1% odds. They remained very close and Curt would call her every day.

After retirement, Carol had the joy of taking many trips to Europe, staying in senior hostels. She also enjoyed riding a bike, cross-country skiing, and swimming in the frigid Maine ocean. Carol moved from New York to Cumberland in 1999, where she spent many happy years. She later lived in her independent-living apartment at 75 State Street in Portland, Maine, right around the corner from her oldest son Lee’s house.

Carol loved family gatherings. Her favorite part might have been going through the checkout line at the grocery store with a giant turkey and more than enough food to feed an army. She loved telling the cashier that she had a big gang coming and a lot of cooking to do. One of her last phrases, out of the blue, was saying she was lucky she had 5 great kids. “Gram” is very loved, and her family is so grateful to have shared a life with such a special person. She had a life well-lived and will always be well-loved.

Carol was predeceased by her son, Leland Hulst III; ex-husband Leland Hulst, Jr; and son-in-law Joseph Murphy. She is survived by her children, Peter Hulst (Ann), Janice Hulst-Murphy, Curtis Hulst, Cheryl Hulst-Benoit (Vance); son-in-law, Mitch Ledford; nieces, Deb Page (Ken), Rindy Higgins (Jon) and Dee Dee Mandino (Rob). She is also survived by her grandchildren, Kathryn Hulst (Ryan Albert), Evan Hulst, Ashley Davis (Blake), Shannon Hulst, Dylan Murphy, Jack Benoit, Charlotte Benoit, and Lillian Benoit; as well as her great-grandchildren, Adelyn and Amelia.

A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. on June 14 at the Congregational Church in Cumberland UCC, 282 Main St, Cumberland Center, Maine. Arrangements are under direction of the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home of Portland, Maine. To view Carol’s memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit www.Conroy

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