DIXON – Jerome Hammes, 62, of Dixon, passed away Sunday, April 21, 2013, succumbing to his battle with cancer. As was his nature, Jerome was staunch in his resolve. He accepted his fate and went forward, determined and fearless in choosing his path to his final destination.
Jerome was born June 6, 1950, to Leo and Irene (Gronemus) Hammes, near Middle Ridge in La Crosse County, Wisconsin. In 1968, he moved to Sterling to join his two older brothers, working for Northwestern Steel and Wire Co. until 1980, at which point he devoted himself to Hammes & Son Construction, a business he had started several years prior.
In 1973, he married Paula Richter of Sterling, and they were blessed with two children, Jason and Janelle.
Jerome was a giver and an adventurer. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Jerome dove into the rebuilding effort, working many months on the cleanup project in Mississippi. His experience broadened his life, introduced him to many new friends, and gave him great pride.
Always the practical joker, his many nieces and nephews will miss his pranks and merciless ribbings. Family gatherings won’t be the same without him. He enjoyed spending time with his faithful dog, Lucky.
Jerome is survived by his two children, Jason (Polly) Hammes of Sterling and Janelle Hammes of West Columbia, S.C.; grandchildren, Isabelle and Sebastian; his mother, Irene Hammes of La Crosse, Wis.; brothers, Ken (friend Luanne) of Wausau, Wis., Ron (Jeanette) of La Crosse, Bob (Marge) of Oregon, and Leo Jr. (Jan) of Sterling; sister, Renee (friend Steve) of West Salem, Wis.; and dear friends, Todd Rosequist and James and Melody Willis.
He was preceded in death by his father, Leo; brother, David; and sister, Mary Ellen Pitz.
Jerome donated his body to research and science, and requested there be no funeral. There will be a visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. May 1 at McDonald Funeral Home in Sterling.
Jerome was, in so many ways, simply a very good man. He had a strong sense of family and worked hard for what he had. In his final months, Jerome certainly realized a much deeper appreciation for his journey, focusing on chats with his family, friends from long ago, and sharing his gift of love and humor. He will be deeply missed.