J. (John) Peter Hamel, 92, of Rockford, Ill, formerly of Fence, Wis. passed away July 26, 2013 at Fairhaven Christian home, Rockford.
He was born in Marquette, Mich. on April 27, 1921, to the late Rev. John Christian Hamel and Roberta (Vanden-Hoek) Hamel. Pete graduated from Gravaraet High School, Marquette, Mich. in 1938 and then spent a year at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He attended Northern Michigan University for two years before enlisting in the Navy in August of 1941. After spending a year at the U.S. Navy Laboratory School at Newport, R.I., he was assigned as a Pharmacist Mate (medic) to the USS Alabama. As a “planker”, he was part of the initial crew during the Alabama’s shake down period and then served in the North Atlantic. From 1943 to the end of WWII he served on the USS Waterman, a Destroyer Escort, in the Pacific, as Chief Pharmacist Mate, receiving the Purple Heart and other commendations. He received his honorable discharge on October 7, 1945.
When he returned home from Chicago in 1939, Pete met Wilma Jayne Berklund, from Big Bay, Mich., who was staying at his home while she attended high school in Marquette. When he first saw her he told her he was going to marry her. Her response: “My father will have something to say about that.” They were married while he was home on leave in the spring of 1945. Pete and Jayne moved to her families homestead farm in 1947 at the recommendation of Pete’s doctor, so that he could recover from the many illnesses he had acquired in the Pacific. In 1956 Pete returned to Northern Michigan University and completed training to become a Medical Technologist, and became a Registered Medical Technologist with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists in 1959. Pete worked as a Medical Technologist at Community Hospital in Clintonville, Wis., and Community Hospital in New London, Wis. In March of 1962 he was named Lay Administrator of the New London Hospital. He was subsequently Administrator at Victory Memorial Hospital, Stanley, Wis. (1963-5), Riverview Hospital, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (1965-72) and Sheboygan Memorial Hospital, Sheboygan, Wis. (1972-83). He was a member of the College of Hospital Administrators. After retirement in the mid 1980s, Pete and Jayne spent two years with the Christian Mission of Pignon, Haiti, setting up and improving Pignon Hospital services. Returning home they spent time with family residing in Fence, Wis. during the summers and Fort Meyers, Fla. in the winter. Pete loved working in his large garden and various church activities.
Along with his parents, Pete was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years Jayne; three brothers, Peter Cornealius, Robert and John; one sister Helen. He is survived by four children: Rev. William (Karen) Hamel, Apple Valley, Minn. , Dr. Peter (Beverly) Hamel, Fence, Wis., Dr. Timothy (June) Hamel, Brodhead, Wis. and Wilma (Rev Peter) Akright, Waupaca, Wis; two sisters, Sarah Bignall and Mary Wolff Burnett; 13 grand children and 14 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be Saturday, August 10, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Fence Bible Church, Fence, Wis. Funeral Services will be Saturday, August 10th 11:00 a.m. at the church. The Goodman-Armstrong Creek Klesewski-Leya VFW Post No. 7444 will accord military services at graveside. Rev. Dr. William Hamel and Rev. Tim Smith will concelebrate. Burial will be in Fence Cemetery. You may light a candle in remembrance of Pete, or leave a condolence for his family online at www.JacobsFuneralHomes.com. The family has chosen the Jacobs-Lundholm Funeral Home, Florence, to honor Pete’s Legacy of Life.