SamRae Hamm, 86, of Pekin, journeyed home the evening of Sunday, July 4, 2021 at John M. Evans Supportive Living Community.
Born October 15, 1934 in Incheon, South Korea, Han Samjae “three fortunes” was the fifth of ten children born to Han Soon Hak and Shin Un Soon. SamRae was educated in Incheon during grade school, and when the Japanese occupation of Korea ended, she was allowed finally to openly speak and write in Korean. She continued her education in Seoul, and graduated from Myung Sung High School. Despite oppression, displacements and family separations due to the North Korean invasion of South Korea, SamRae demonstrated a tenacious outlook on life.
As a first aid nurse working for the US Navy, SamRae met sailor, James Emmett Hamm during the Korean Conflict, and the two were married at the American Consulate in Pusan, South Korea on May 11, 1953; rising above the bigotry they encountered against interracial marriage. They moved to the United States in 1954.
Of the places she’s resided, SamRae lived the longest in Pekin, Illinois, where she retired from Pekin Insurance in 1994, after almost 16 years of service. Of the handful of jobs SamRae worked in her lifetime, she enjoyed being a homemaker and caregiver the most. She loved creating and providing beauty for others.
Surviving are three children: Neita (David) Sudberry of Flint, MI, Gordon (Debbie) Hamm of Jericho, VT, and Ramona (Alan) Gatewood of Concordia, MO; seven grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; two sisters and two brothers; extended family; and many others who loved her dearly. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, two sisters and three brothers.
SamRae’s life and legacy are that of love, service and sacrifice, and trying to make the best of every situation experienced. She encouraged us all to continue our lifelong learning, growth and development.
The family would like to thankfully acknowledge the conscientious staff at John Evans for their care and support of SamRae’s desire to be as independent as safely possible in her last years. The nursing care staff consistently provided timely information and strategies regarding the best outcomes for SamRae’s optimal health. They went so far as to arrange regular face-to-face communication with family via Zoom meetings throughout the closings of CoVid-19.
A memorial visitation will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 17, at the Pekin Park Pavilion. Memorial contributions can be made to The American Heart Association or to a dementia-related organization of one’s choice.
The Cremation Society of Mid-Illinois, Co. in Pekin is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at csmico.com
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