Janice A. Hamilton, 76, died in the morning hours of Jan. 14, 2010, in the home of James Knowlton and Simone McClellan on the island of Vinalhaven. She had previously been living in Rockland because of health conditions.

Janice was born April 30, 1933, and was raised on the island where she spent most of her life. She was born into a large family of 12 siblings to parents Llewellyn and Lola Knowlton.

During a time when most women did not work outside the home, Janice worked as a lobsterman, as opposed to the then-described gender appropriate and much less physically demanding job of a fish cutter in the local fish plant. Today, because of independent and unconventional women like Janice, it is not uncommon to see women lobstering.

Nonetheless, there was more to Janice than her job. Janice was a brassy, free-spirited, strong-willed woman who was anything but traditional. She married three times and gave birth to six children. Janice lived a bodacious life that was sometimes controversial. Because of that, her strength and independence sometimes overshadowed her intentions and love; yet it was her love for life, her children and grandchildren that gave her the wherewithal to succeed in whatever she was trying to accomplish. She was a true picture of a mother hen protecting her chicks and there was safety behind her wings. She was a fortress. She could outwit, outmaneuver and outlast whoever or whatever the opposition. It was far better to be behind her than to go against her. Through her strength and tough love she showed her children, grandchildren and those who knew her how to live life and not to fear death. Death was something one surrendered to.

Even in her last days, despite years of debilitating health conditions, Janice was full of life and living it “her way.” It was in the morning hours of Jan. 14 that Janice surrendered to death. As she quietly slipped away, she departed her journey with a slight smile on her face for she knew that death had no victory over the grave. She had run the race, she had fought the fight, she had traded a corruptible crown for one that is incorruptible. Janice has claimed her victory.

Janice was predeceased by her parents, Llewellyn and Lola Knowlton; her three husbands, Fred Jameson, Raymond Drake and Frank Hamilton; nine of her siblings, Carlton Clark, Ruth Gray, Francis Knowlton, Hollis Knowlton, Herbert Knowlton, Victor Knowlton, Vivian Knowlton, Rita Hall and Frank Knowlton; and two of her children, Randy Knowlton and Renee Drake.

She is survived by two brothers, Ralph Knowlton and Albert Knowlton; four children, James Knowlton, Sharon Trueworthy, Becky Jameson and Roberta “Dolly” Drake; three grandchildren, Evan James Knowlton, Deirdre Raye Gudger and Chelsea Renee Trueworthy; and hosts of nieces, nephews and loved ones.

At Janice’s request there will be no service. She will be cremated and her remains will be placed in a private and undisclosed location. The family is very grateful to all who loved and cared for Janice over the years, both professionally and personally, especially to those who made it possible for her to return to the island. The family gave a special thanks to Becky Jameson, James Knowlton and Simone McClellan. It was their love and selflessness that allowed Janice the gift of returning to the island. The place she called home. Thank you again and let all rejoice in her victory and the celebration of her life.