Harold M. Hamm
Harold M. Hamm, age 82, of Wisconsin Rapids, WI died Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at Aspirus Riverview Hospital, Wisconsin Rapids, WI.
Funeral Mass will be 10:30 AM Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Fr. Jim Altman will officiate. Visitation will be held at Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids, WI from 4:00-8:00 PM Tuesday and Wednesday at the Church from 9:30-10:30 AM. The family will share stories about their Dad on Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM. Burial will take place in Calvary Cemetery.
Harold was born April 8, 1937 in Wisconsin Rapids, WI to Milton and Alice (Rezin) Hamm. Harry married the love of his life, Arlene Klappa, on May 26th, 1962. The popular Everly Brothers song “Let It Be Me” would be the theme of their union and the words “I bless the day I found you” epitomized their devotion to each other for 57 years. His early work life included time at Preway in Wisconsin Rapids prior to the decision to further his education. After graduating from UW-Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics in 1970, he held several managerial positions at firms in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He would return to his hometown at the end of the decade with a burning passion for archery and a desire to be self-employed. Now a father of three and with some hard times behind him, he founded HHA Sports in 1984. During the early years of this new adventure, he supplemented the family income by teaching management courses at Mid-State Technical College. It was there that he would be introduced to several lifelong friends and perfect his craft as a leader. By the time the mid-90’s arrived, he had numerous patented inventions to his credit and was beginning to gain a following in a highly competitive market. Over the next 20 years, along with the unwavering support of his family and a loyal group of employees, he would build one of the most successful and respected brands in all of archery. Never one to take credit for his own successes, he was quick to thank those around him for his good fortune. An avid outdoorsman, Harry enjoyed fishing and hunting and introduced his entire family to the sports he loved so much. He was also named the first Honorary Member of Antler Archers, the place where he honed his archery skills and tested new ideas on many of the members who are still friends to this day.
After decades of struggle, overcoming numerous health issues and ignoring those who gave him little chance to succeed, he had finally reached the top of the mountain. His golden years were spent out on his pond catching fish and turtles with his grandsons, and trips to the Dairy Queen with Arlene in the ‘57 Chevy convertible. Putting his creative mind, sense of humor and gift of storytelling to use, he would write two books and a country album that were enjoyed by many. Harry loved music and entertaining in his car garage and hosted his 60th class reunion in 2015 with the help of his classmates. He had a great appreciation for boxing as a young man and could still tell stories of all the legends of the day, recalling dates of the fights and how many times his favorite, Sugar Ray Robinson, won and lost the title. Also a huge fan of Wisconsin sports, he was always in tune with the latest news from the Badgers, Brewers, Bucks and Packers. He will forever be remembered as a man who conquered a lifetime of obstacles, never allowing them to hold him back or feeling sorry for himself. Truly one of a kind, he wore an infectious smile and had a heart for helping others. He was always willing to share his knowledge and experiences and impacted people of all generations. His humility, generosity and hospitality were felt by everyone who ever walked through his door and he will be dearly missed by all who came to know him.
Harold is survived by his wife, Arlene; three children, Brian (Suzi) Hamm, Roberta Hamm and Chris (Holly) Hamm, all of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; two grandchildren, Ryan Shull and Jason Shull; one great granddaughter, Willow Shull; two brothers, Ronald (Carol) Hamm and Peter (Jane) Hamm, both of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; two sisters-in-law, Marietta Hamm and Elisabeth Klappa, both of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; brother-in-law Gale (Judi) Klappa of Milwaukee, WI. Harold is also survived by ex-son-in-law, Greg Shull and multiple nieces and nephews.
Harold was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Dale Hamm.
“The family would like to thank Brenda Plum and Brittany Korslin for their amazing care. You were a blessing to our entire family. Thank you as well to Wheels of Independence and all the wonderful drivers who transported Harry for the past 10 years. We want to acknowledge the Grand Rapids Police Department, Saratoga First Responders, Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department, Wood County Sheriff’s Department, Eben Peck and Scott Bakken. We also wish to thank Dr. Dirk de Hass and the Emergency Medical Staff at Riverview Hospital for all of your life saving efforts.”