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Roger Hammer 01/28/2021

Roger Hammer 01/28/2021

Roger Elmer Hammer, age 87, died on Thursday, January 28th, 2021 at the River Falls Area Hospital due to complications from the coronavirus. Roger was born in Ladysmith, WI, on October 30, 1933 to Elmer and Elsie Hammer (Kramer). He grew up in Hawkins, WI where his family owned Kramer’s Store, a place where people gathered to buy necessities and catch up on the local news. In his youth, he spent many hours stocking shelves, making deliveries, and welcoming the community into the store. He would often recount stories of his idyllic childhood in the small, northern Wisconsin town.
Roger, or “Rog” as he was called by his friends, attended Hawkins High School, where he excelled in many sports. Along with playing football, he was co-captain of his high school basketball team, leading the Hawkeyes to victory in the 1950 Flambeauland conference championship. While all sports were a joy to Roger, baseball was his true passion and remained so for the duration of his life. He passed that love along to his two sons which inspired many trips to famous baseball stadiums together.
Following his 1951 graduation as class Valedictorian, Roger attended the University of River Falls, Wisconsin and studied Education. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1955, he began teaching at the high school in Ladysmith, WI. He went on to teach in Stevens Point for four years, and then in 1963, he and his family moved to River Falls, and called this community home for his remaining 58 years. Roger first taught high school English, then moved to the library, becoming a library media specialist. In 1999, after 44 years of teaching others, he retired. Fellow teachers and former students alike describe Roger as remarkably kind and as having a razor-sharp wit that never failed to make people smile. He was an all-time favorite. Role model. Friend.
On August 6, 1955, Roger married the love of his life, Marlys Hammer (Hvass). Together the couple had five children over a period of seventeen years. Roger and Marlys remained married for over 58 years, ending only with Marlys’ death in 2014. To Roger, family was a treasure.
Roger was a Christian who lived his faith by example, through his kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness. His many acts of service to his church included singing in the choir, serving on the prayer team, and participating in and leading many Bible studies. His “small group” Bible study of 16 years held a special place in his heart. Roger lovingly spoke of this group as family even after aphasia had made finding his words difficult.
Roger’s sense of adventure took him many places over the years. He enjoyed camping trips with his family, outings with beloved friends, and especially traveling across the United States with Marlys. One of his all-time favorite vacations was a 22-day cross-country camping trip to Los Angeles with his family. Truly it was the people in his life that made these adventures so wonderful for Roger, although he did not need an excursion to appreciate his friends. He especially enjoyed playing cards, dining out, attending concerts, listening to old radio programs, participating in study groups, and for a time, singing in the Croix Chordsmen Barbershop Chorus.
Roger’s kindness, sense of humor, and insight brought light to all those around him.
Roger is survived by all his children, Teri (Rick) Hanson of Kennan; Leslie (Dean) Benoy of River Falls, David (Kim) Hammer of Rochester, MN; Sarah (Jim) Conkle of Missoula, MT; and Joel (Tiffany) Hammer of Baldwin; 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons. He is preceded in death by his wife, Marlys; his parents; and his sister (Laureen).
Visitation was held on Friday, August 13, 2021 from 6-8 pm at Ezekiel Lutheran Church 202 S Second Street River Falls, WI and on Saturday, August 14, 2021 from 10-11 am at the church.  A memorial service was held on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at 11:00 am at Ezekiel Lutheran Church.  Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery on River Falls.  Memorials honoring Roger are preferred to Ezekiel Lutheran Church or Luther Point Bible Camp. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral and Cremation Services of River Falls.

Click here to watch Roger’s recorded memorial service


  • Ruth Emerson Posted January 29, 2021 3:53 pm

    Roger meant so much to our Bible study of 16 years- I miss him so much, but grateful he is reunited with Marlys and residing with our Savior

  • Brandy Erickson Posted January 30, 2021 2:20 pm

    Mr. Hammer was an amazing compassionate man. He was my mentor for conformation, we had many great talks about God and religion over pie. Sympathy to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

  • Diane Bjornstal Posted January 30, 2021 5:22 pm

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of this man of strength and faith. Roger was a great friend to my parents and me these many years. We enjoyed many after-church lunches together. My prayers to Leslie and all members of Roger’s family.

  • Bud and Jo Ayres Posted January 31, 2021 12:18 am

    Roger was a good man, a special man, a gentle man, an educated man and a friend to many. We so enjoyed being with him and his wife, Marlys. I remember the time that Roger, Marlys, Bud and I went to the Spam museum. Oh, the laughs and the fun we had that day. Roger will be missed by many, but we know that he is with our Lord and with his loving wife. We feel very fortunate and blessed to have know Roger and Marlys. since we moved here. Our loving thoughts are now with Leslie and Dean, along with Roger’s other children, grandchildren and their families.

  • Steve and Susan Trewyn Posted January 31, 2021 6:58 pm

    Friends with Roger since 1971 when I started teaching with him at the Middle School in River Falls, always enjoyed his wonderful sense of humor and appreciated his friendly, out-going manner. We treasured both Roger and Marlys over the years. We moved away after several years, but Roger always called on my birthday, and probably did for others as well. We enjoyed many lunch visits when we traveled through the area to visit family in the Twin Cities. He will be missed by family and friends.

  • Deb and Zane Bollom Posted February 2, 2021 12:01 am

    My condolences
    May all your joyful memories lift you in the days to come.. Losing a dad is never easy.

  • Jeanne Aamodt Posted February 2, 2021 1:58 pm

    I was blessed to have met Roger and Marty’s at Ezekiel, I admired their gifts, their faith, but I truly loved Roger’s wonderful sense of humor! He will be missed, and what a reunion in heaven there will be not just with Marty’s, his family but the friends from River Falls who preceded him. He is now reunited with Our Lord in eternity!

  • Jeannie Solum Posted February 2, 2021 3:44 pm

    From my days in high school to sitting pew to pew at Ezekiel, Roger radiated kindness, and great wit! He will be missed!

  • Roger Tweiten Posted February 2, 2021 6:46 pm

    58 years ago Roger & I met as new teachers beginning a long history of visits both in River Falls and across the state even meeting halfway once to get a rosemaled trunk. Roger “the Librarian” as he referred to himself and Marlys annually set a date for our Norwegian Christmas brunch which included treats, gifts and memories. When Marlys passed we would invite Roger over for the brunch but it was never the same and attempts to get him out for lunch became risky due to weakness and stairways. He left such a wonderful family as well as a legacy in River Falls that will continue for many years. The hundreds of students that experienced his guidance and humor are among all who grieve his loss.

  • Ed and Sandy Schramm Posted February 2, 2021 8:37 pm

    Roger: teacher, friend, and man of God. To the family he loved so much, we share your sorrow, and we share your joy that Roger and Marlys are now walking hand-in-hand with their Savior.

  • Naomi and Jerry Brandt Posted February 2, 2021 9:57 pm

    My favorite memory of Roger was how he cared for people that entered his life at church. He and Marlys were our Ezekiel sponsors when we moved to River Falls. Little did we know that every year from then on we would receive a phone call on our birthdays with Roger on the other end singing Happy birthday to us. He also remembered our anniversary. He will be remembered by many as such a thoughtful caring man.. We were blessed to know him. Our sympathy to his family.

  • Judith Foy Posted February 3, 2021 4:26 pm

    Roger was one of my dearest friends when I taught in River Falls. We shared a love of baseball, books, and mischief. Our Friday after school meetings with Arline were always the highlight of my week. My sympathy to his family.

  • Gayle and Brian Adair Posted February 3, 2021 5:26 pm

    We just read Rogers obituary- his picture is perfect……
    We will miss him so much. He was a very special teacher, man of God, great hugger, had a witty sense of humor, gave generously (books, pens, calendars…..), gave of himself generously (always prepared with commentaries, studies, prayers, beautifully written cards…..), I could go on and on but, he truly was a wonderful friend….. and father figure to me. He gave advise with a gentle spirit and had a genuine concern for people. It breaks my heart that he is gone but, so happy for him to be reunited with his dear Marlys. Can’t you just see them now? What a gift to have them both in our lives…..

  • Jan Ingersoll Posted February 5, 2021 12:26 am

    I think so often of his jokes, etc. he shared with us each week at Bible Study. Roger was always interesting and fun to study with, as he was so knowledgeable of the Bible. I am happy we were able to have study with him a few time when he was at the Kinnic. God bless his memory and family!

  • Trudy Vien Posted February 5, 2021 6:36 am

    I will miss Roger as our fearless Thursday Bible study leader. of 16 years. He tried to retire his leadership roll but our group wouldn’t let him. I also miss his wonderful wife Marlys, a real earth angel, but it’s time for those two to be together again. Roger had to put up a lot with our close knit talkative group. He would always get us back on track. I think he enjoyed and respected how open and vulnerable we were with each other. He was a great man snd he will be missed.

  • Alberta Rupert Posted February 14, 2021 10:16 am

    Dear family and friends of Roger,
    My sincerest sympathy and prayers to all of you. We have, indeed, lost a wonderful friend.
    My husband, Jim , and Roger met and became close friends when they were in college at R. F. And when you mention Roger’ s humor, Jim would tell how if Rog wanted to tease him or give him a bad time about something, he would lower his head and then look up and say, not James or Jim , but “Yaaa Mess, ! ”
    After we and the Hammers both moved back to R. F. , we renewed the friendship and spent many wonderful times with Roger, Marlys and all of you, Teri, Leslie, David, Sarah & Joel. So my special greetings to you.
    And, since Roger & I were both media specialists in the RF school districk, we had that connection as well.

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