Obituary of Joe H. Hammel
May 16, 2018
Joe H. Hammel died in Grass Valley, CA on May 11, 2018 from complications of a stroke.
Joe was born in Brooklyn, NY on March 1, 1937 to parents William and Mildred Hammel. By age five Joe discovered that he loved the piano and began piano lessons. His college studies, however, led to receiving a BA degree at Colorado University, Masters Degree in Education at NYU, PhD in Educational Administration NYU, and a degree in Financial Planning by the College for Financial Planning in Denver. He also served in the US Army Reserves for six years.
Joe taught English and U.S. history at Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, CA, was a Dean at Sierra College, taught Educational Administration courses at CSUS, and Financial Planning courses for UC Davis Extension. He also taught at the Continuation schools in Grass Valley and took up Kenpo Karate earning his Third Degree Black Belt designation.
Music remained his first love. He adored the American popular music of 1910-1960s, focusing on the songs of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter. As a songwriter, Joe composed over 100 songs, and enjoyed performing and singing his own music at the piano. After moving to Nevada City, he performed many one-man shows celebrating the lives of his musical heroes. His greatest joy was playing with his Swingtime Band in venues all around Grass Valley.
He was an active member of Congregation B'nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center where he shared his musical talents for services and community fundraisers.
Other retirement activities included watercolor and acrylic painting, reading, and spending time with family.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne Thies; his former wife, Alice Hammel; his children Julie and Glenn, as well as grandsons Zev (21), Ezra (15) and Avi (10).