Funeral services for retired Judge Kenneth G. Hamm were conducted Feb 7, 1997 at the SS. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church, 633 Bridger Ave, Rock Springs. The Rev Russell Johnson of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion officiated. Military graveside funeral services and interment were conducted by the American Legion, Archie Hay Post No 24 in the Mountain View Cemetery in Rock Springs.
Pallbearers were D Terry Rogers, Alan B Johnson, John D Troughton, Robert B Ranck, Joseph F Maier and Paul J Wataha.
Honorary pallbearers were Nancy J Guthrie, Dan R Spangler, Terrence L O’Brien, Vernon C Bentley, C Stuart Brown, G Joseph Cardine, Robert M Forrister, John P Ilsley, Harold Joffe, Elizabeth A Kail, John T Langdon, Harry E Leimback, Leonard McEwan, William J Nicholas, John J Rooney, Robert R Rose, Paul T Liamos Jr, George P Sawyer, Angelo Anselmi, Paul Chenchar, Jim Cole, John Hay Jr, Clarence Samuels and Ed Shineburg.
Hamm, retired 3rd District Court judge, 77, of 432 Walnut St, Suite 5, Rock Springs, died at 9:37 pm Saturday, Feb 1, 1997 at the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater Co, where he had been a patient since Jan 24. A lifelong resident of Sweetwater Co, Hamm had been in ill health the past several months.
The Hamm family has resided in Sweetwater Co since 1868, before the railroad came. Hamm was born Aug 20, 1919 in Rock Springs, the son of the late Charles Francis and Helen Wier Young Hamm. He was the son of a cigar maker and a mother who was a former teacher. His father died when he was 11 years old. His mother, who subsequently served as Sweetwater Co clerk in Green River and worked to put her children through college, urged him to take a legal career, one which he said he never regretted.
He attended schools in Rock Springs and Green River and was a graduate of the Green River High School with the class of 1937. He worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression and worked in the summers as a deputy county clerk from 1938-1940. Hamm served in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. He piloted 50 combat missions as a B-17 bomber pilot with the 32nd Bomb Group, 12th Air Force in North Africa and ended his flying career as a lieutenant colonel. For a time he was stationed in Rapid City, SD, as an executive officer at the Rapid City Air Force Base.
Hamm married the former Bettye West Thorne in Rock Springs on Mar 2, 1968.
Hamm attended the University of Wyoming from 1937 to 1941. He graduated with honors from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1946 with a juris doctorate degree. He was admitted to practice before the Wyoming Supreme Court on Nov 12, 1946, the Interstate Commerce Commission on Nov 10, 1948, and the United States Circuit Court of Appeals on Jun 1, 1972.
He began his practice in Rock Springs and served as deputy county attorney for County Attorney Albert Nelson from 1946-1951. In 1952, he began law practice with Joseph Galicich until Galicich retired in 1973. Hamm then practiced law on his own. Shortly thereafter, Gov Stanley Hathaway appointed him District Court judge of the 3rd Judicial District in 1973, where he remained until his retirement. Until last June, he was serving on call to handle district court cases as needed as well as additional judiciary work on special assignments for the State of Wyoming.
When first appointed, Hamm remarked that nobody trained a judge once he assumed office. All new judges attended a National Judiciary College for one month, and then returned to their posts and continued to learn the necessary skills as they worked. While on the bench, and to provide better guidelines for new judges, Hamm wrote manuals on arraignment, pleas and sentencing, trial procedure and juvenile procedure, which are used by the judiciary statewide. He recalled, “I taught myself how to be a judge, and over the years, I prepared three manuals on how to perform the duties of a judge.”
When Hamm, at the age of 69, chose to retire one year before Wyoming statute mandates a judge to do so, he had a judicial career that spanned decades and included the writing of 436 legal opinions and the hearing of some of the most publicized cases in the history of Wyoming.
Hamm had extensive knowledge of criminal law practice, both as a deputy county attorney and as a municipal judge for 15 and a half years in Rock Springs.
During the last several years of his retirement, Judge Hamm continued pursuing a special research project, a 16 volume compilation called “The Hamm Family History and Related Events,” which extends form the year 1868 through 1995. In addition to the history of the Hamm family and also the Young family on his mother’s side, it embraces the growth of all of Sweetwater Co. It is actually a factual detailed account of a vibrant, aggressive western community. All of his research was acquired by reviewing newspaper and other written events that were first published within the county.
Intertwined with the historical review are news articles of all the men and women within Sweetwater County who served in the Armed Forces, beginning with World War I up to the present time. This, in itself, was a detailed task.
Hamm adhered strictly to the letter of the law and was thorough and meticulous in anything he undertook.
Hamm was a member of the Wyoming Bar Association, the Sweetwater County Bar Association, a member and past chairman of the Wyoming Judicial Conference, and a member of the International Academy of Trial Judges, where he served as secretary-treasurer for two years and the Board of Regents for three years. He was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, the Air Force Association, charter member of the Smithsonian Associates, the Wyoming State Historical Society, the American Association of Retired Persons, the American Space Foundation, the BPO Elks Lodge No 624, the Wyoming Investment Advisory Council, and served as past president of the Community Concert Association. During the 1950s, he was a member of the Rock Springs Kiltie Band.
He also served as director for B&R Inc, chairman of the board of directors of the Wyoming Land Title Company, a partner in the H&A Realty Company and Hamm Brothers, Inc.
His interests included camping, fishing, photography, traveling and gardening.
Survivors include his wife, Bettye of Rock Springs; one daughter Wilmot Christine Bice of Laramie; one stepson, Charles Brock Thorne of Vernal, UT; one brother, Governor G Hamm of Rock Springs; one sister, Mrs Robert (Helen
M “Polly”) Johnson of Rock Springs; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Hamm was preceded in death by one brother, Don Frederick Hamm.
DISTRICT JUDGE OF WYOMING
2ND AND 3RD JUDICIAL DISTRICTS
1973 - 1997
US AIR FORCE
WORLD WAR II
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