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Thomas Morrison posted a condolence
Sunday, December 2, 2018Donnie Hamele was a black belt - a longtime martial arts student who trained hard and worked his way up the ranks. Due to an accident that left with limited usage of his arms and legs, Don had to work a lot harder to succeed. He chose to train with us because we pushed even harder and cut him no slack. He started with us back in the mid-1990s and studied Taekwondo under Master Robert Gray, working his way up to advanced blue belt. Studying the patterns was very difficult for him, as were many of the advanced sparring combinations, so we transitioned him into the more 'self defense' heavy Combat Hapkido. In Combat Hapkido, Don worked a modified curriculum built around what he needed (strengthening and breakfalls) and techniques to protect himself (strikes, locks, and weapons). As a Combat Hapkido student, he earned 1st and 2nd level ground survival certification as well as his 1st and 2nd dan Combat Hapkido rank. Don could be grumpy, but given that he was in pain most of the time, it was understandable. He was also technically sound and a very tough fighter. People who underestimated him learned the hard way to take him seriously. Donnie Hamele personified the 'never give up' attitude that is symbolized by the black belt. Donnie didn't just earn his black belt, he was a black belt. He was also a good friend and one tough dude. He'll be missed. Rest in Peace Donnie - you earned it.
Lorraine L. Patnode (Maiden name Floyd) posted a condolence
Saturday, November 17, 2018Condolences to his family and friends. It was fun growing up in Wanakena with Donnie and the rest of the gang. We always had fun playing games and riding bikes in the little hamlet. He was a good guy and I am glad to have known him.
Michael R. Bridgen posted a condolence
Monday, November 12, 2018I knew Bro. Hamele only after his accident. I admired the determination he had to drive his chair around Potsdam, often regardless of weather, to go here or there. He was very friendly, offering his hand to shake whenever I met him. He had a nice sense of humor, and was a gentle man.
Chrystie Kilbourn-Terry lit a candle
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Samuel Tartakoff posted a condolence
Tuesday, November 6, 2018I only met Donald Hamele a few years ago when I moved into the area, but I quickly grew to love and appreciate him. I knew him through church as Brother Hamele, where he was unfailingly cheerful, despite the challenges he faced. I was always inspired to see him coming up the sidewalk in all sorts of bad weather, stalwartly plugging along in his wheelchair. He helped give others a valuable perspective and he made my world a brighter place. My heart goes out to his family. He will be missed.