Mary Agnes Hammond passed away peacefully in the presence of her loving husband, James Melvin Hammond, and her devoted daughter and son-in-law/godson, Marie Hammond and Gregory Edmund Law, in Harbor Springs, Michigan on 30 October, 2019. Other survivors are children Julie Hammond Weir, James Casey, and David Charles (Maria), grandchildren David Victor Hammond, Adam James Weir, Madeline Grace Law, and Hammond James Law, and great-granddaughter Mary Katherine Hammond.
Friends and family will be received at Stone Funeral Home in Petoskey on Sunday, November 3rd, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, November 4th, at Holy Childhood of Jesus Church in Harbor Springs at 11:00 a.m., preceded by a one-hour visitation.
Mary was born May 17, 1931 in Detroit to Carl Joseph and Sadie Jean (Bowe) Wallich. Their only daughter, she was born on her father’s birthday. She grew up in a large extended German family on the east side of Detroit, where her grandfather had established Wallich Lumber Company, the family business in which her father and five uncles held jobs. Mary received loving attention from her two aunts, Adelaide Wallich and Hildegarde (Wallich) Gusmer. She fondly remembered the summers of her youth, spent partly in the New Jersey home of her three Gusmer cousins, Bill, John, and Charlie, and partly at her family’s cottage (without plumbing or electricity) on Wallich Island in the Anchor Bay portion of Lake St. Clair. She is survived by all three Gusmer cousins, as well as her only other cousin, the youngest of all, Betsy (Wallich) Heid. Mary was predeceased by both her parents, her three brothers, Charles Joseph, James Bowe, and Martin Frank, and her grandson Austin Frank Weir.
Mary attended St. Mary Academy in Monroe, Michigan, before enrolling in the dental hygiene program in the School of Dentistry, University of Detroit. She was a member of the first class to graduate from that program with a four-year bachelor’s degree in 1955. It was on that university campus that she first met her future husband and the love of her life, Jim, on a spring evening in 1953. Soon after, she introduced him to her family at a dual-birthday celebration for Mary and her father Carl, hosted by Aunt Addie at the old family home on the east side. They were married two years later at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan. Mary and Jim celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on September 17, 2019.
As Jim’s partner for life, Mary dedicated herself entirely. She followed Jim to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he completed military service in the U.S. Army; then to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Jim worked for American Blower and Mary in quick succession gave birth to Julie, Casey, and David; then to East Lansing, Michigan, where Jim started his own business, Hammond Associates, Inc., and where Mary later gave birth their youngest child, Marie, an unexpected blessing for which she and Jim have been forever grateful. Mary was indeed a partner to Jim in every aspect of his life, as well as a dedicated mother to her children, putting her own ambitions and interests aside in favor of her family. Caring for a young and growing family is not an easy task for any wife and mother, but Mary dutifully accepted the challenges. But she did not want to abandon her dental hygiene skills. The older children remember her pulling out her dental kit and asking them one-by-one to sit on a chair in the kitchen. During two or three periods in her married life, she practiced on real patients in real dental offices. Mary also provided her children with many pleasant experiences, often as the “Mom” half of “Mom & Dad.” To her grandchildren, she was the “Nana” half of “Nana & Papa.”
After all the children had gone off to college, Mary picked out a house in Okemos, Michigan, which she and Jim made their home until retirement. As Jim’s business grew during these years, Mary joined him on work trips around the world – Mexico, Germany, China, and beyond. Mary longed for warmer climates with balmy breezes and palm trees, but she nonetheless ventured into the wintry Michigan weather every year to join family on the ski slopes. She was probably happier during Michigan summers when she joined her husband on “Jim’s Dandy,” which they docked for many seasons at Harbor Springs Municipal Marina and cruised around all the Great Lakes. Mary’s best years were perhaps those in which she and Jim enjoyed retirement at their two newer homes in Naples, Florida and Petoskey, Michigan, with the companionship of many old friends in both places.
Mary shared special memories with Jim of their travels through Asia to visit Casey, who has long worked in that region. Mary and Jim welcomed Julie and her son Adam, traveling from Colorado, to Harbor Springs every Fourth of July. She joined Jim on frequent fun visits to the home of David and Maria in Alexandria, Virginia, especially at Christmas, always arriving early to join the annual neighborhood caroling party – a Hammond tradition begun in East Lansing that continued with David and Maria in Alexandria, and now with Marie and Greg in Petoskey. Mary’s most comforting memories may very well be those of her final years, as she and Jim together enjoyed the young family of Marie and Greg, basking in their love and care. She will be remembered always by her grandchildren as the inseparable “Nana” half of “Nana & Papa,” by her children as the inseparable “Mom” half of “Mom & Dad,” and by Jim as the inseparable “Mary” half of “Mary & Jim.”
Mary was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, which was always an important part of her life as wife and mother. She did her best to pass this faith on to her children. She set a good example by attending Mass every Sunday of her married life, always accompanied by Jim. She practiced the Christian value of charity throughout the years. Her older children remember how their mother and father each Sunday in the early 1960s provided a family experience at their home for three adolescent boys who had been airlifted out of Cuba in “Operation Peter Pan” and placed in an orphanage in Fort Wayne; how Mary for several years paid home visits to an elderly and disabled neighbor in East Lansing; how she also stepped in when needed to provide after-school care for two children of a family in distress. In her later years, she was an active member of the Christ Child Society of Northern Michigan. Her exemplariness will be remembered and honored by her family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in her memory to St. Michael Foundation, the non-profit organization supporting St. Michael Academy, a Catholic high school in Petoskey, Michigan (mailing address: 2225 Summit Park Drive, Petoskey, MI 49770, website: www.stmichaelupnorth.org/support).
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St. Michael Foundation (The non-profit organization supporting St. Michael Academy)
2225 Summit Park Drive, Petoskey MI 49770