Lawrence R. Ham

Friday, November 13, 2009

June 7, 1923-Nov. 10, 2009

BENKELMAN -- Lawrence Roy Ham, 86, of Benkelman, Neb., departed this life on earth for his heavenly home on Nov. 10, 2009, at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colo., after his body gave out on him.

He was born June 7, 1923, in Dundy County, Neb., the youngest of nine children born to Roy A. and Jennie M. (Roberts) Ham. He was born on his maternal grandparents' farm south of Republican River, and grew up on the family farm north of the river.

Lawrence attended school in Benkelman and was a member of the graduating class of 1941 -- the largest graduating class from Benkelman High School.

At the age of 12, Lawrence experienced the Republic River Flood first-hand. He had many memories of the flood and would tell of watching the flood waters below in their home. He saw houses float by with people on the roof tops. He would also tell of the special red wagon that he shared with his brother, Paul and the demise of it after a traveling salesman backed over it. He has one special picture with his wagon; he was dressed up to go with his Sunday school class on a picnic. Sister, Vernelle, had to get a picture of him all dressed, which he barely had time for.

During World War II, Lawrence lived and worked in California making prism lenses for binoculars used during the war. He talked about his time in California and of all the people. He wasted no time returning to Southwest Nebraska to work the family farm where his grandparents, J. O and Martha Emelline had homesteaded. In recent years, he received the century plaque marking the time when the Ham family had owned and resided on the original homestead for 100 years.

Lawrence was married to LaVerne Vella Mann on Dec. 24, 1945, and to this union three children were born, Nancy Jane, Vicki Linn, and George Allen. This marriage made a Ham-Mann connection for the third time. They continued to reside at the Ham homestead until they built a home in 1978, at which time George moved his family to the farm.

In 1992, he was divorced from LaVerne and moved back to the Ham homestead north of Benkelman. In 1992, his best friend and companion, Darlene Kirby became a part of the family.

Lawrence will be missed by a host of family and friends, and especially his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Jennie Ham; siblings: Clifford, Vernelle, Ernestine, Lyle, Byron, Stanley, Donald, and Paul; son-in-law, Gaylord Lynn Wright; and grandson, Kevin Allen Wright.

Survivors include his daughter, Nancy (Wright) and husband, Calvin Semler of Bird City, Kan., and their children, Lori Janicke and husband, Clayton and their children, Walker, Devon, and Jordan Janicke; Tonia Vallejo and husband, Steve and their children, Jayden, Riley and Dalton Vallejo; Cary Migchelbrink and husband, Eric and their children, Kennedy and Brody Migchelbrink; daughter, Vicki Marquis and husband, Jay of Brighton, Colo., and their children, Michelle Mallory and husband, Joel and their children, Alex, Callie and Rhys Mallory; Jaysen Marquis and wife, Carrie and their children, Mackenzie and Abby Marquis; son, George Ham and wife, Janet of Hartford, S.D., and their children, Misty Quick and husband, Ryan and their children, Will and "soon-to-be" Baby Quick; Brian Ham and wife, Natalie and their daughter, Emmelia; and Amber Ham. In addition to his children, eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, Lawrence also leaves behind his special friend Darlene Kirby; and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Mr. Ham will lie in state at Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009, from 3-8 p.m.

Funeral services will be Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009, at 2:30 p.m. (MST) at the United Methodist Church in Benkelman with Rev. Brian Fong officiating. Interment will follow services at the Benkelman Cemetery.

A memorial has been established in his name.

Arrangements are under the direction of Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman.