Margaret Hamm (nee Neufeld)
1925 - 2015
Margaret Hamm was born on November 18, 1925 in Weidenfeld, MB to Wilhelm and Helena (nee Friesen) Neufeld. She was raised in Weidenfeld until she was 18 and then the family moved to MacGregor. On May 6, 1945 Margaret was baptised in a Bergthaler church in Arden by Bishop David Schultz. She worked outside the home for various people for three years and then married Otto Hamm on Aug. 18, 1946 in MacGregor. They moved to Winnipeg so that Otto could attend teacher’s college while Margaret worked in a glove factory. The newlyweds lived in a one room apartment on the third floor at 174 Smith. The following August they moved to Thames to teach at a one room school for a year, have a baby girl, Sharon and then move to Altona where Otto worked for Co-op Vegetable Oil for three years. During that time David was born. In 1951 Margaret and family moved to Grand Rapids to teach school for three years. By 1954, the decision was made to train for the pastorate so they returned to Altona in the summer of 1954. By this time, the family had grown to six (Jane and Wesley were added) and dad attended Bible School until May. Having their sight set on Cross Lake, they enrolled for a three month course at Carenport, Saskatchewan with the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Margaret and five other women who were not taking or auditing the course learned another language orally. In August 1956, Otto left for Cross Lake to build a house while Margaret stayed with the family in Altona until winter. The rest of the family went by train to Wabowden, stayed for night at a hotel, all of us in a single bed and the following morning took a plane to Cross Lake. It had been nice weather in Altona. It was full fledged winter in Cross Lake. The house was warm, at least when the fire was going in the heater. The smell of wood burning, buns rising and fresh wax on the lino floors still lingers. Mom has told us that the years we spent in Cross Lake gave her the most joy. In 1966, we all moved back south for school reasons. With us was three year old Cathy McKay, who was to become another sister to us four kids, but to all of our extreme disappointment, that couldn’t happen. We still treat her as our sister. (In good ways!) There were three possible options that dad received for continuing to pastor – one in Winkler, one in Saskatchewan and in southern Ontario. All the kids voted for Ontario first and Winkler last. You already know what happened. I967 was the year of dad’s stroke and in 1969, his seizure occurred. Mom did what she knew to do. She went to the bedroom, knelt on the floor and prayed for life for dad. Her praying was a normal response and practice and God gave Margaret and her family their request. Dad and mom pastored churches in Winkler, Steinbach and Portage before retiring to their farmyard in 1990. In January 2012, Margaret had a life threatening reaction from some medication she was taking and almost lost her life. The recovery in the hospital took until May and then we took her home to see if her recovery would continue. What happened was mom and dad lived together for another 30 months until her heart and mind deteriorated to such an extent that she was hospitalized. Margaret died on Sunday morning, January 4, 2015.
She is survived by her husband, Otto, children, Sharon (Les) Klapatiuk of Nanton AB, David (Elvera) Hamm of Winkler, Jane (Harv) Janzen of Canmore, AB, and Wes (Karen) Hamm of Winkler, Cathy Merrick of Cross Lake, 12 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, two sisters and one sister in law.
Funeral service was held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday January 9, 2015 at the Emmanuel Mennonite Church with interment at Weidenfeld Cemetery.
Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler
In care of arrangements,