March 7, 1918 - May 9, 2007
BRIGHTON, Colo. -- John E. Ham 89, Wednesday (May 9, 2007) at Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton, Colo.
He was born to Eugene F. and Edna (McEvoy) Ham on March 7, 1918, in Benkelman. His mother died when he was 11/2 years old. He and his father lived with his grandparents, J.O. and Em Ham until his father married Hazel Frank. He attended Benkelman Public Schools until his senior year of high school, when the family moved to Denver, Colo. He graduated from Denver East High School in 1936, and Denver University in 1940.
He moved to Hollywood, Calif., after graduation, where he was an accountant for Paramount Studios until 1944. He then joined his father in the operation of the Independent Elevators of Benkelman, Doane, Parks and Max. He operated the Independent Elevators following the death of his father in 1976, until his retirement in 1989.
He was united in marriage to Frances Marie Vrbas at St. John's Catholic Church in Beardsley, Kan., on June 18, 1951. They adopted three children, Craig Thomas, Gregory Francis, and Michelle Marie.
He moved to Brighton, Colo., in 1996 to be closer to his daughter, Michelle.
He was on the Benkelman City Council, Chamber of Commerce, Dundy County Hospital Board, Hester Foundation Chairman, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and Knights of Columbus.
Preceding him in death were his parents; a nephew, Richard Jones; sisters-in-law, Helen Horinek, Alice Horinek, Gertrude Havel, Antoinette Horinek, and Martha Soucheck; brothers-in-law, Frank Vrbas, William Vrbas, Bernard Vrbas and Raymond Vrbas.
Survivors include his wife, Frances of Thornton, Colo.; sons, Craig "Tom"and wife, Betty of Ogallala, and Greg and wife, Holly of Holdrege; daughter, Michelle Pursley of Brighton, Colo.; sister, Jean Marie and husband, Ron Jones of Benkelman; brother-in-law, Charles Vrbas of Palisade; sisters-in-law, Marian Ruda of Atwood and Adella Harry of Colby, Kan; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous other relatives and friends.
He chose to donate his body to science.
A memorial service will be Saturday, 10:30 a.m., at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Benkelman.
Memorials are suggested to the American Heart Association or the church.