Dr. Dennis G. Hamm Jr.

Published 4:43 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

Dennis Hamm, faithful servant of his savior, passed into His arms on February 21, 2017. He battled Lewy Body Dementia for two years and lost the battle. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed by all. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dennis G. Hamm Sr. and Margaret Sue Hamm; his maternal grandparents, Robert and Carrie Swanay; and paternal grandparents, Simon and Beulah Hamm.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Joyce F. Hamm, soulmate and the love of his life; his children, daughter, Cindy and her husband Nash Aragam, and son, Michael Hamm; brothers, Robert and his wife Sue Hamm, and Stephen and his wife Barbara Hamm; granddaughters, Keely and husband Josh Brock and Kiri Hamm; grandsons, Nevin Aragam and Bryon Aragam; nieces, Melissa and her husband Buddy Fields and Robin and her husband Andy Beckelhimer; and nephew, Matthew Hamm.
I met my handsome Dennis in the cold of winter in Northern Quebec in 1959. We were both radar operators in the Air Force. He was in the American Air Force for four years. We met, we laughed, we played in the snow and yes, we loved each other so much. We got married and so began our beautiful life together for almost 58 years.
We came back to the States and Dennis started his academic journey. While he worked at several small jobs, he decided that it was time to get serious in acquiring his double major (Political Science and Speech) degree at ETSU. He became a wonderful speaker and everyone loved to hear him talk. Dennis then received a $1000 scholarship to continue his education. He felt the calling to become a minister and so he was off to the Southern Baptist Seminary. He went to school and I started to work. He preached most Sundays at local churches. He received his Masters in Theology and worked at the Kentucky Baptist Convention for a couple of years. Then we moved to Charlottesville, Va., where he became the Baptist Student Chaplain at UVA. Dennis received his second Masters in Marriage and Family Counselling from UVA. While working at UVA in Charlottesville, he drove to Richmond, Va., every week to work on his Doctorate in Religion at the Union Presbyterian Seminary. While all this studying and working were going on we had our two children — Cindy, our daughter, and Michael, our son.
Dennis was in the Army Reserve during this time and continued his military service for 35 years. Including his four years in the U.S. Air Force he had 39 years of military service to his country. He retired from the Army as a full Colonel in 1999.
We came back to Tennessee in 1980 where he was instrumental in starting Contact Ministries and the Elizabethton United Way. Dennis also worked for HUD for 10 years while teaching as an adjunct at ETSU after we settled down in Tennessee. He became a full-time professor in the Criminal Justice Department at ETSU where he worked until his retirement in 2015. He was the epitome of what a university professor should be.
Dennis’s passion for life was found, first, in his love of God, and second, his love for his family and friends. He loved his students, teaching and advising, and guiding them through their difficult and good times in life. He married many of his students and helped graduate many of the law-enforcement officials in the Tri-Cities area. His passion for military service, criminal justice, and love for his country never abated while in active service for 35 years or outside of it for over 20 years.
There are so many good things to say about Dennis, who was always hugging, joking and caring for everybody he met while always ready to help no matter what the issue was. He did not know the words “No” or “I can’t” as his numerous titles, accolades, awards bear witness to his magnanimity and caring for his fellowmen. As much as he was a Doctor, Colonel, Professor, Chaplain, Reverend, to all his beloved people he served during his life, the most important to me was that he was my husband, my Denny, and my love of life forever
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Lewy Body Dementia Association at: https://www.ibda.org/donate/
A Celebration of Life for Dr. Dennis G. Hamm Jr. will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, February 26, at Memorial Funeral Chapel with Pastor Jim W. Nipper, Mr. Jim Cooper, Dr. Doug Burgess and Dr. Stacy Onks officiating. Music will be by Alexander Burke. The family will be receiving friends Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. in the chapel. The graveside service and interment will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday, February 27, in the Mountain Home National Cemetery. Family and friends will meet at the funeral home at 10:45 a.m. Monday to go to the cemetery. Military Honors and pallbearers will be provided by the Tennessee National Guard. Condolences may be sent to the family on our website: www.memorialfcelizabethton.com
Memorial Funeral Chapel, 212 North Main Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643 is serving the Hamm family.

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