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Don "Donnie" Hammond

Don “Donnie” Hammond

VIROQUA/VIOLA — Don “Donnie” Hammond, 77, of Viroqua died peacefully Sunday, May 19, 2019, at Vernon Memorial Healthcare from numerous health issues, along with pneumonia complications.

He was born at home near Retreat, May 5, 1942, to George and Blanche (Gilman) Hammond. Don went to Sunday school at Retreat Methodist Church. He often told of Francis Bean coming to pick up the country children and riding in the rumble seat to Sunday school. He went to country grade schools and went to high school in De Soto. In 1960, Don went to work at Johns Manville (JM) in Waukegan, Ill. In July of 1963, Don volunteered for the Army. He took his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Following completion of basic training, he was transferred to Fort Collins, Colo., where he earned his high school G.E.D and the rank of Private First Class (PFC). In April 1965, Don received an honorable discharge from the Army and continued his employment at JM. On Sept. 18, 1965, as he says, “I jumped the River and look what I got” and married Barb (Snelling) Hammond, at the United Methodist Church in Slayton, Minn. Following their marriage, Don and Barb lived in Waukegan. While employed at JM, he graduated from the Industrial Management Program at Lake Forest College and became a maintenance supervisor. In 1969, son, Jody, was born. Don and Barb purchased a home and moved to Kenosha, Wis., in 1973. Don retired from JM in 1997, after 37 years of service. After Barb retired, also from JM, they moved to their newly built country home on County Road SS, between Viola and La Farge, where they enjoyed their next 15 years of country living. Due to Don’s failing health, they moved to their present home in Viroqua, Oct. 25, 2014. On October 25, 2018, Don became a resident at Norseland Nursing Home in Westby.

Don was a member of the Viola Methodist Church and the Viola American Legion 447 and the Viroqua Eagles 2707. While living in Kenosha, Don and Barb spent many enjoyable weekends and vacations at their cabin and hobby farm between Viola and La Farge. Don also enjoyed spending time with family, hunting, fishing, camping, mowing on his Massey Ferguson and John Deere, and country music and dancing. He also looked forward to the annual Hammond and Gilman family reunions.

Survivors include wife of 54 years, Barb; son, Jody; daughter-in-law, Denise; three grandchildren, Gavin, Gwen and Mitch. He is also survived by sister, Evelyn Wallace and husband, Robert, of Richland Center, Wis., and Carol Hansen and husband, Deldon, of De Soto; and family, extended family, and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents; and three sisters, Lucille Brudos, Dorothy Parr and Judy Myers.

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He was a very special person and he meant a lot to everyone who new him. He will be deeply missed by many and loved by all. He is finally at peace after a long fight with numerous health issues. He will be singing with his sisters and dancing with the angels. He also will be reunited with many friends and family that went before him and Donnie will be creating some laughs and playing some practical jokes, so they better be ready. Blessed be the memory of Don Hammond.

Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 25, at the Thorson Funeral Home in Viroqua, with Pastor Larry “Bubba” Stegall officiating. Burial with military honors took place in the Walnut Mound Cemetery in Retreat. Family and friends called from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, at Thorson Funeral Home, with an Eagles Club Memorial Tribute at 6 p.m. and from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service Saturday. Following the service there was a luncheon held at the Viroqua Eagles Club.

In lieu of flowers and plants, memorials of the donor’s choice are preferred. Online condolences may be left for the family by visiting www.thorsonfuneralhome.com.

The Thorson Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Viroqua is proudly serving the family.

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