Don Frederick Hamm

Don Frederick Hamm

Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming, USA
Death 27 Aug 1996 (aged 75)
Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County, California, USA
Burial Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming, USA
Plot BUNNING_130_2_4
Memorial ID 80711356 · View Source
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Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner, Sep 7, 1996

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—Don F. Hamm died at his home at 2500 McGregor Drive, Rancho Cordova, Calif., 95670 on Aug. 27, 1996, at 75. He had been ill with leukemia for nearly a year.

He was born in Rock Springs on Jan. 11, 1921, the son of Charles F. Hamm and Helen Young Hmm. After his father died in 1930, his mother was elected county clerk of Sweetwater County, and in 1931 she and her family of four children moved to Green River.

Hamm attended the Green River public schools. After graduating in 1938, he attended Pasadena Junior College. When World War II began, he joined the Army Air Force and became a navigator of on a B-17 bomber in the 8th Air Force, stationed in England in 1943. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1944.

On a bombing mission to France, Hamm was assigned to a Flying Fortress called “Georgia Rebel” replacing the regular navigator who was sick. As the 18-plane bomb group was returning to England and had approached the Brittany peninsula, it was attacked form the rear by two German fighter planes. Ham’s plane was the last in the formation. He recounted, “As ‘tail-end Charlie’ we got the brunt of it. For about 15 minutes their 37 mm cannon shells kept exploding off our plane’s wing tip. But the entire group was firing back with more than 90 50-caliber machine guns. So our own group was of more danger to us than the Germans because the metal links from the guns are discharged into the open air and they came fling back into our windows, cracking hell out of them. The Germans finally left and we landed, more or less intact, at Land’s End, England.”

While on another bombing mission to France, his plane the “Red Hot Riding Hood,” caught on fire at about 12,000 feet. Although burning and badly damaged, the plane reached the English coast. Hamm recalled, “I kneeled down to enter the tunnel leading from the nose section to the cockpit. I reached out and grabbed the escape hatch release and as I pulled it, the plane blew up. The blast knocked me out so when I woke up I was falling through the air. I pulled the rip cord on the chute which opened and let me down in the English countryside. I managed to get up and, after walking about a mile, met a British corporal who directed me to an aid station. Later I found that six of the crew were killed and four of us survived.”

Hamm had been listed as seriously wounded and was one of the few who survived a plane explosion in the air.

After returning from England, he married Helen E. Todd of Rock Springs on Aug. 2, 1945. Later, they moved to Chicago where he attended the Chicago School of Art. He also attended the University of Utah graduating with a degree in education with a minor in biology. He contributed many technical art illustrations for various medical textbooks.

For a period of time while living in Green River he owned and operated a tourist court and was also a draftsman at a chemical plant before moving to California in 1955 and starting a career in advertising. He and his wife, Helen, had five children. She died of cancer in 1971 in Campbell, Calif.

He then moved to Sacramento and continued his work in advertising. He met and married Marilyn Greilich in 1985.

He retired in 1988 from his job as advertising and sale promotion manager for the Sacramento-based company WEMCO, where he worked for 15 years. His total advertising career spanned 30 years.

During his retirement years he became involved with a senior artists guild, painting watercolors. He and his wife did extensive traveling and photographic work. They also did theatrical productions and concerts.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn; son, Richard Hamm of San Jose; daughter, Gail French and son Kenneth (Randy) Hamm, both of Denver; son, Kevin Hamm of Boulder Creek, Calif.; daughter, Laurel Hamm; stepsons, Kevin and Scott Cowley and stepdaughter, Pam Grijalva, all of Sacramento.

He is also survived by brothers, Judge Kenneth G. Hamm and Dr. Governor G. Hamm, and sister, Helen Hamm Johnson, all of Rock Springs. He leaves 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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  • Created by: Angela Cable
  • Added: 19 Nov 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 80711356
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Don Frederick Hamm (11 Jan 1921–27 Aug 1996), Find a Grave Memorial no. 80711356, citing Rock Springs Cemetery, Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming, USA ; Maintained by Angela Cable (contributor 47277708) .