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Hal M. HammelJuly 25, 1917 ~ December 6, 2017 (age 100)
Hal Morris Hammel 100, Rochester, Indiana, passed away at 3:15 A.M. Wednesday December 6, 2017 at Life Care Center of Rochester.
He was born on July 25, 1917 to William Henry and Lura Leona (Logan) Hammel in Elkhart, Indiana. A few years later the family moved to a forty acre farm west of Warsaw, Indiana along the Tippecanoe River. Hal learned about hard work and the rewards from it from helping with gardening, raising chickens and transforming young ducks into cash while attending school at Harrison Center Grade School and Atwood High School. He played school sports and served as class president to quickly learn leadership.
In the early 1940’s, he married Pauline Erny, who was the mother of Hal’s sons, William Hal and Jon Melvin and daughter, Loretta Ann. Pauline preceded Hal in death in 1960. In 1961, Hal married Lois E. Hale and later another son, Michael D. Hammel, was born.
After graduating from High School in 1935, he worked at the Daulton Foundry in Warsaw and showed excellence in work skills. Later he worked for the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, moved to Rochester, and gained skills that allowed him a twenty seven year career completed as Signal Maintenance Foreman from Huntington, Indiana west to Chicago, Illinois.
In 1963, sensing that the railroad was in financial difficulty, he took leave of absence and originated a Chrysler Plymouth auto dealership that later encompassed GMC and still later Dodge and Jeep Products. His vision was aimed at providing any service the buyer could need including rentals, leases and body shop. Hammel Motors served thirty five years in Rochester until 1998 when he was eighty years old. He had enjoyed having his family work with him for varying lengths of time. It grieved him to sell out his life’s work, but the move allowed him several years with less responsibility to enjoy his family and spend winters in Sebring, Florida.
During his years in Rochester, Hal was very active at the First Christian Church, serving in many capacities, he was a long- time member of the Kiwanis Club having served as club President and also served on the Board of Directors for Woodlawn Hospital during the time the current Woodlawn Hospital was planned. In spite of some community concern about the hospital location and the need for such an expenditure, the Woodlawn Board decision led to a better future for Rochester’s medical care. He also was a seventy five year member of the Masonic Lodge.
Survivors include his wife, Lois E. Hammel, Rochester, Indiana, three sons, William Hal Hammel, Rochester, Indiana, Jon Melvin and wife Teresa Hammel, Rochester, Indiana, Michael David Hammel, Rochester, Indiana, daughter, Loretta Ann and husband Tom Blessing, Syracuse, Indiana, eleven grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren and four great –great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 A.M. Monday December 11, 2017 at the First Christian Church, Rochester, Indiana. Friends may visit from 2-6 P.M. Sunday at Zimmerman Bros. Funeral Home, Rochester, Indiana and one hour prior to the service Monday at the church. Masonic services will be conducted at 6:00 P.M. Sunday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Rochester, Indiana. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church or the Masonic Lodge. Online condolences may be expressed at www.zimmermanbrosfh.com