John Hamar
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Obituary of John Hamar

John C. Hamar, a long time Chassell resident and well-known area businessman, passed away at his home on July 17, 2017, after a lengthy illness, his loving family at his side throughout the battle.

John was born on March 18, 1930, in Cloquet, Minnesota, son of Marcella (Miller) Hamar and H. Kenneth Hamar.  He attended school in Ontonagon prior to moving with his family to his grandparent’s home in Chassell in 1946.  John was a 1948 graduate of Morgan Park Military Academy, Chicago, Illinois, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Lawrence College in 1952, where he lettered in baseball and basketball and was a member of Beta Theta Pi.  In 1954, John was united in marriage to Joan E. Armbrust of Indianapolis, Indiana.  The couple celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on June 26, 2017.

John proudly served his country in the Counter Intelligence Corp (CIC) division of the U.S. Army, stationed in St. Louis, Missouri.  In 1957, they moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, making Chassell their permanent home.  With sawdust in his blood John joined his father at the Chassell Box and Crate Company where he assumed the position of General Manager.  In 1958, John became General Manager of Horner Flooring Co. in Dollar Bay and in 1960, along with his father and family, purchased Horner Flooring from the Horner family.  John’s humble and warm personality, along with his strong industry and product knowledge, facilitated expansion into other industry segments including floorcovering distribution and manufacturing operations in other parts of the US and internationally.  This desire to create opportunities for others was yet another of John’s living examples of, others before self.  John’s principles of business were basic; he recognized his employees as his greatest asset and treated them with great respect and recognized customers were first, friends.  John retired as President and CEO of Horner Flooring and affiliated companies in 1987.  He and Joan enjoyed winters in Sarasota, Florida, for over 30 years where they enjoyed many friendships and continued to pursue their passion for golf.  

John was a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Chassell, where he served as council member and president.  John served and supported many organizations, some of which were; member and past President of the Houghton Rotary Club where he was a Paul Harris Fellow, Director and President of the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA), Member of the Board of Directors of the Hardwood Flooring Installation School and National Wood Flooring Association, Director and Chairman of the Superior National Bank and Keweenaw Financial Corporation Board of Directors, Finlandia University Board of Trustees, Finlandia University President’s Circle, MTU Huskies Club, MTU Presidents Club, strong supporter of Bay Cliff Health Camp, Past Campaign Chair of the Copper Country United Way, 40+ year member of the Order of Masons, and Portage Lake Golf Club.

John was an avid sports fan who encouraged his children to participate in as many sports as possible and was always their greatest fan.  He truly loved the game of golf, having won both the Men’s and Senior Men’s Club Championships at Portage Lake Golf Club.  He treasured the many friendships he made through the game of golf over the years.  John was a well-respected referee, teaming with his brother Ed to officiate many high school and collegiate football contests.  Following his father’s example, John was an unwavering supporter of the Green Bay Packers.  He also loved hunting pheasant in South Dakota with the Motley Hunting Group, a group consisting of family and friends he and Joan helped form over forty years ago.

In 2006, John was presented with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from Finlandia University.  John was inducted into the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

John is survived by his wife Joan, daughters Deb (Mark) Young and Julie Hamar of Chassell, son Doug (Shelby) of Hancock, four grandchildren Mike (Lori) Young of Chassell, Angelea (David) Heider of Marquette, Leslie and Reid Hamar of Hancock, two great-grandchildren Caleb and Wyatt Young, sister Patricia (Oscar) Boldt of Appleton, Wisconsin, sister-in-law Marilynn Hamar of Chassell, sister-in-law Susan Neilson of Flathead, MT, one niece and numerous nephews.  John was preceded in death by his parents, brother Edward and niece Margaret (Boldt) Anderson.

A memorial service will be held for John at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, 2017, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chassell, Dr. Reverend Philip Johnson to officiate.

Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2017, at the church and one hour prior to services.  The family extends heartfelt thanks to caregivers of Portage Home Services;  Emily, John and Karen along with Jennie, RN from Portage Home Health and Hospice.  Special thanks to Dr. Hopper, Dr. Kinzel, Dr. Trusock, Dr. Dinsmore and Deb Lorenz, NP for all their medical expertise and support.  Your care and concern will never be forgotten.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests memorials to:

Finlandia University, 601 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI  49930

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Endowment Fund, 42905 Willson Memorial Drive, Chassell, MI  49916

Omega House, 2211 Maureen Lane, Houghton, MI  49931

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The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Home of Chassell is assisting the family with the arrangements.