Holly Ellen Hamlett, 64, of North Hollywood, CA died on December 6, 2019. Holly was born in Fort Dix, NJ to Ruth Alyce (Hamel) Hamlett and Clyde J. Hamlett. Her father was a naval officer and the family lived at several military installations before settling in West Springfield, MA, where she attended high school. She graduated from Emmanuel College in 1977 and went on to do a joint degree in theology and social work at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, CT, where she met and married Kirk Stevan Smith (m. 1979-1996). She began her career in counseling and social work as a geriatric social worker and private practitioner in Hartford, CT. A talented therapist and social worker, Holly served many communities in her long career, often supporting patients and families in their most difficult times. After moving to Los Angeles in 1991, she worked as a hospital social worker in various institutions, including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Hospital. At the time of her death, she was employed by Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Behavioral Health in Sylmar. A natural caregiver, Holly’s capacity for support extended beyond her professional work to all those around her. Following a 2007 breast cancer diagnosis, she—along with six others—founded a support group known as “The Girls,” which now numbers over 80 people strong. Holly used her experience as a breast cancer survivor to help bring comfort and strength to many women.
All who knew Holly experienced her gregarious generosity, her warmth, deep compassion, and care. Holly was an avid lover of rescue dogs. She had several canine companions throughout her life, to whom she showed great love. She also had a great sense of adventure and ambition, seen in the accomplishment of goals like participating in an Outward Bound program and completing the Los Angeles marathon. In recent years, Holly’s travels took her to places such as South Korea, Tuscany, Central America, and New York City; she made friends everywhere she went. Holly’s devotion to family and friends was boundless. She was especially proud and supportive of her two children, Jordan and Nathaniel, and loved spending time with her grandson Lars.
She is survived by her daughter Jordan Hope Smith (Meredith Bak) of New York and grandson Lars; her son, Nathaniel Kirk Smith (Natalie Osterling) of Salzburg, Austria; brothers David Clyde Hamlett and Timothy Francis Hamlett, and friend and former husband Kirk.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Triple Negative
Breast Cancer Foundation.
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