Throughout his rich and rewarding life, Earl Hammel was a man who truly lived. When he loved, he loved deeply and nothing was quite like his sense of humor. Earl liked nothing more than coaxing others into believing one of his far-fetched stories, making life so much fun for those around him. Known as a snappy dresser, Earl’s family even joked that he would wear a suit to a family picnic, but he was a firm believer in always looking his best. When looking for Earl, his friends and family knew that unless it was the dead of winter, he could often be found out on the golf course whether getting in an entire round or just a few holes before the night enveloped him in darkness. A more loving husband and devoted father would be hard to find, although he may argue that it was becoming a grandfather that was life’s greatest gift. A true gentleman, loyal patriot, and loving man, Earl will be deeply missed.
While the thirties were drawing to a close, Americans were eagerly looking forward to the next decade more than ready to put the hardships of the Great Depression that affected countless families behind them. Although WWII was brewing overseas in 1939, we had hopes of remaining neutral. It was also in 1939 that there was much to celebrate for one young family from Town of Lake, Wisconsin, since they were overjoyed to announce the birth of a healthy baby boy. Earl Roy was welcomed into the arms of his loving parents, Earl C. and Ethel (Meyers) Hammel, on April 12th and was the oldest of four children in his family including his siblings John, Patricia, and William. He moved with his family to Milwaukee as a young boy and was raised in the Bay View neighborhood. Earl’s father worked at Allen Bradley while his mother was a busy homemaker. His father was strict, but it was this upbringing that laid a foundation of strong character within Earl.
In many ways, Earl experienced a childhood that was rather typical for young boys of his generation. He enjoyed playing basketball with his brother, John, and they became lightning fast runners as they always played basketball near their home until the last possible minute, which required them to sprint home to get in before curfew. Earl attended Dover Elementary School and Bay View High School where he enjoyed math.
As a young man, Earl was drafted into the Army in 1962. He was proud to become a military police officer who served in Korea as part of the peace-keeping forces who were stationed there. When his duty to his country was fulfilled, Earl was honorably discharged in 1964.
Back on America soil, Earl found work at Allen Bradley where he worked as a quality engineering technician. While he was a salaried worker, he followed in his father’s footsteps and attempted to organize a union for his fellow technicians. He also worked part-time as a bartender in the executive lounge at Allen Bradley.
While he was busy establishing his career, Earl was married and was blessed to become the father of three wonderful children who were the light of his life: George, Fred, and Jackie. In everything he did, Earl’s children were always at the center of his heart.
It was while at work that Earl met a woman named Sandra Przybylski who was his true soul mate. They began dating and as love blossomed, Earl bought her a “pre-engagement” ring, although it looked strikingly similar to a typical engagement ring. As time passed by and he never proposed, Sandi finally proposed to him and they were married on August 21, 1982, instantly melding his three children with her son, Kevin, into a family of six. It was twenty-five years later at their silver wedding anniversary party that Earl officially got down on one knee and proposed, dressing Sandi’s finger in an anniversary band.
As time went by, there were plenty of things that kept Earl busy. With a desire to spend time with his wife, he joined a bowling league with Sandi and when he took up golfing, Sandi took some golf lessons herself. Elated, Earl immediately bought her a set of clubs. Together they visited Earl’s brother Bill and his wife Peggy at their condo in Door County where they golfed together. In fact, Earl was an avid golfer – so much so that if the golf course was open, he would be on it. He even golfed wearing mittens and frequently continued golfing well after dusk. Sandi often referred to herself as a golf widow. They attended church at St. Lucas and then at St. Johns Lutheran Church.
Together Earl and Sandi went on several cruises. It all started when they were invited to join their friends on a cruise. When he asked, Sandi let Earl know that she would like to go, but understood that a cruise wasn’t really his thing. However, Earl agreed to go and the cruise was quickly booked. As the story goes, Earl had an unforgettable time!
Later when their children grew older and established families elsewhere, Earl and Sandi tried to make a trip out to see them in California at least once a year. Their children returned to Milwaukee for visits as well, but not usually during the holidays. When his family grew to include grandchildren, Earl couldn’t have been more pleased and would often say that the day that each of his grandsons was born, were his happiest days. It was clear to see that Brandon and August were the light of his life as he always had a special place in his heart for children.
Earl was given a tough pill to swallow with the death of his son, George, in 2003. This was devastating to him and he never quite got over the loss.
When we remember Earl Hammel we will think of the many times he made us laugh. He had an amazing sense of humor and would have an entire room laughing within 15 minutes. He loved telling outrageous stories and seeing who would bite, and he was even able to pull the wool over Sandi’s eyes a time or two. We will remember how he deeply loved those around him and that as the storms of life came, Earl was the strong rock that upheld his family. He will be dearly missed by many.
Earl Hammel died on May 16, 2011. Earl’s family includes his wife, Sandra; his children, Fred and Jackie; step-son, Kevin Ceynowa; grandchildren Brandon and August; brother, William (Peggy); and several others including nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends. Earl was preceded in death by his son, George; his sister, Pat; and his brother, John. Visitation at the Funeral Home Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 4:00 p.m. until the time of the Funeral Service at 7:00 p.m. Interment and Military Honors Services 10:00 a.m. Friday, May 20, 2011 at Woodlawn Cemetery, 614 E. Howard Ave. (please meet inside cemetery gates). Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or sign the guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4001 S. 68th St. Milwaukee, WI 53220. Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes , Niemann / Suminski, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 744-5156.