Henry Andrews Hammell Sr. was the second son born August 18, 1930 in Evanston, Illinois to the union of Major D. Hammell Sr. and Emery Fay Andrews. Henry Sr. was proceeded in death by his parents, brother Major D. Jr. and son Henry A. Hammell Jr. (Verneva).
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Henry attended Evanston Public Schools, graduating from Evanston Township High School in 1948. Henry graduated from Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and double minors in Chemistry and Sociology and Master of Science in Mathematics at DePaul University Graduate School in 1960. Henry became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (ΚΑΨ) in 1951 and remained an active member of the Pasadena, California Chapter.
During the Korean War, Henry was drafted into the United States Army in 1953 and served his country until 1955, where he received the National Defense Service Metal and an Honorable Discharge.
While Henry was attending Morehouse College, he met the beautiful Mamie Rubye Slater on the campus of Spellman College. They soon fell in love and got engaged. When Henry returned home from the service, he went to Milledgeville, Georgia to marry his Georgia Peach. Henry and Rubye were united in marriage on August 9, 1955 and from this union were born the late Henry Jr., Andrea, and Richard. Henry and Rubye divorced in 1979 and remained friends until her death in 2014.
Henry loved sports; particularly Football, Basketball and Boxing, which he played at the YMCA, High School and College. Henry was a proud member of the original Bob-O-Link basketball team, of which he was the last to pass. Growing up, Henry Jr., Andrea, Ricky, Angie (Niece) and Major III (Nephew) all knew that Sunday’s was the day to not go into the basement because Dad would be watching a game on television, was also listening to another one on the radio…and he was not to be disturbed!
Henry was also an avid swimmer and walker. Henry swam at the YMCA and walked around the Rose Bowl four days a week, until three years ago when his health started to fail. He always challenged himself to complete his walk within the specific time he set…and not a minute later.
Henry worked at Clayton Marks & Company as a Laboratory Assistant until 1953. He also taught Mathematics in the Chicago Public School District until 1962 when he joined Sears Roebuck & Co. Henry was one of the first African American manager’s at the downtown Evanston location and was Division Manager until it closed. He then transferred to the Northbrook location and continued working in the Home Improvement department in Illinois and then transferred to California in 1985; he later retired in 1992. After retiring, Henry volunteered and taught reading and math at Altadena Elementary until the fall of 1998.
Henry joined Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois along with his brother Major Jr. in 1941. He later joined First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Pasadena, California in 1985 and was known for saying ‘if you write me a check, it’s Hammell…with two m’s and two l’s’. Henry loved his church and for several years served as Pro Tem on the Steward Board. He was also a member of the Usher Board, Seeds of Faith Ministry and active in the MOFAME Ministry until his health started to decline.
Henry went to California in 1984 to visit his cousins, Leroy and Pearl, and was introduced to Etta A. Isham. In 1995, Henry moved to California where he and Etta were united in marriage. Henry was committed to Etta and loved her dearly. He learned how to love for better or for worse, and in sickness, and in health and was devoted to her until she passed.
Henry was a stern, no nonsense, said what he meant and meant what he said man. Conversely, he was also very grateful, gracious, honest, honorable and rather humorous, even if sometimes he was the only one laughing! Henry affectionately gave Andrea the nicknames ‘Nurse Hatchett’ when she ‘nursed him back to good health’ after a few surgeries and ‘Doctor Quack’ whenever she would give him health advice.
Henry was loved and viewed as Father and Grandpa Figures by so many people. He had a heart of gold and was always willing to help someone any way he could. Henry didn’t have to demand respect; it was automatically granted to him just by his presence.
Henry leaves to cherish his memories and teachings, his daughter, Andrea Hammell , son, Richard Hammell (Paulette) and daughter-in-law Verneva Hammell (Henry Jr.) of Illinois; Stepchildren, Clinton Steward (Lillian), Janice Whitfield (Robert), and Orian Isham of California, and Lorenzo Isham (Yolana) of Arizona; Grandchildren, Sheriah and Dejuan Hammell, Satoya and Kandi Burge of Illinois; Richard Hammell of Barcelona, Spain; Brittany Hammell of Minnesota: and Chauncey Hammell of California; Great-Grandchildren, Devyn and Khalil Hammell, and Henry Hammell-Jordan of Illinois; Niece, Angela Walker (Roland) of Illinois and Nephew, Major D. Hammell III (Carol) of Georgia, and a host of Step-Grandchildren, Step-Great-Grandchildren, relatives, friends, and church family.