Ralph Hammel, 96, of Decorah

Ralph B. Hammel, Sr., 96, of rural Decorah, IA, died Sunday, May 13, 2018, at Thornton Manor in Lansing, IA. 

Ralph Bernard Hammel, Sr. was born October 27, 1921, in the Wexford area, rural Lansing, IA, the son of Joseph and Nora (Pierce) Hammel. 

He attended country schools near Lansing and helped farm with his parents; Ralph also spent a year in North Dakota working on wheat farms. 

On June 17, 1946, he married Stella Celia Collins at St. Mary’s Hanover Catholic Church in rural Waukon, IA. 

They farmed in the Bear Creek bottoms area of Dorchester, IA, for a few years before it got flooded out, at which point they moved to a farm on top of the Bear Creek hill, where they resided until 1989. 

Ralph and Stella then farmed in rural Decorah, IA, until Ralph went to Thornton Manor in Lansing. In addition to raising cattle, hogs, corn, and beans, he also sold Pag seed corn for many years.

He was a member of Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Organization, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dorchester. 

Ralph liked being outdoors and enjoyed fishing, hunting for deer, squirrels, and mushrooms, checking on his cattle, and walking in the woods. 

He was an avid Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Twins fan and also liked following his grandchildren’s school activities. 

The thing he loved the most was spending time with his family. Christmas was a big deal for him simply because he got to have all his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren over to the house; watching them all open gifts was a true highlight. 

Ralph also liked decorating for the holidays, including stringing lights on the fences.

He is survived by his children: Suzanne (Verland) Flatten of La Crescent, MN, Ralph (Kathy) Hammel, Jr. of Dorchester, Mary Jo (Bill) Frana of Decorah, Roger Hammel, David (Karla) Hammel, and Charles (Deborah) Hammel, all of Dorchester, and Ruth Ann (Kevin) Kearney of Calmar, IA; 38 grandchildren; 48 great-grandchildren; and daughter-in-law Debbie Hammel of Decorah. 

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; wife Stella in 2003; daughter Mary Catherine Hammel; son Steven Hammel; great-grandson Remington David Whalen; five brothers: Paul, Clair, Francis, Robert, and Donald Hammel; and two sisters: Ruth Burke and Marcella Collins.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, May 16, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dorchester, IA, with Fr. Mark Osterhaus officiating. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Hanover Cemetery, rural Waukon. 

Friends called from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Tuesday at Martin Funeral Home in Waukon, where there will be a 3:30 p.m. scripture service.

Honorary casketbearers are Ralph’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Casketbearers are Michael Hammel, Alan Iverson, Dylan Hammel, Brian Brower, Kenny Hammel, Billy Joe Frana, Lance Hammel, and Joe Hammel.

Online condolences may be left at www.martinfunerals.com.