Shirley Jane Hamm

Obituary of Shirley Jane Hamm

Shirley Jane Sloan Hamm, 82, died Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in Pittsburg. Celebration of life services will be held 11 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church in Pittsburg, where she was a member. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Erman Smith Funeral Home, Pittsburg. Burial will be private in the Fairview Cemetery, Clarksville, Texas.

Born in Clarksville on June 19, 1934, she married her high school sweetheart Harvey David Hamm, Sr. on August 15, 1954. Their enduring love inspired many.

She graduated from Clarksville High School and East Texas State University, earning bachelor of arts and master of library science degrees.

She leaves a legacy as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and gifted educator. Her career spanned 34 years, first teaching English in Dallas and then Pittsburg, where she also served as librarian. Her former students take pride in positions as “library helpers,” who are asked to serve as honorary pallbearers.

After her family, Mrs. Hamm’s greatest passion was literature, which she continued to teach in retirement to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She last quoted to them Victorian poet Christina Rossetti’s “Who Has Seen the Wind,” delighting in helping them discover the innuendo and hidden spiritual meaning.

She was a painter of oils and watercolors and preserver of beauty, happiest when arranging flowers, repairing antique furniture, hosting teas and gardening. She was instrumental in the continuation of the Green Thumb Garden Club in Pittsburg, which created a much-anticipated annual flower show and an accompanying tea, bringing the community closer together by celebrating beauty. Johnny Jump Ups, or Violas, were her favorite garden flowers. She was known to stop on a roadside to collect a twig, stick, weed or “wispy” to use in her Hogarth Curve design flower arrangements, which won many awards.

She and her husband hosted legendary Christmas breakfasts for family and friends. He cooked, she decorated, and the table often was set two weeks beforehand. The couple traveled for many years as members of the “Shriner’s RV Club,” and a favorite destination was the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.

After retirement, she continued to visit the Pittsburg Public Library several times a week, often with her great grandchildren in tow. With her Kindle, she kept a virtual library at her fingertips; however, she insisted on her dear friend returning three bound library books just days before her passing.

She found ways to honor her former students by displaying valentines she received from them over the years. Often in February, her daughter and son-in-law Melinda and Paul Mayben artfully display hundreds of them in the windows of their downtown Pittsburg clothing store.

Small in stature but large in personality, she was known for her authenticity and frankness. She told family that she preferred visits to be “short and frequent.” She never procrastinated, and kept up with friends and family through emails and texts, demanding proper grammar and punctuation on her iPhone.

Along with her beloved husband, others left to cherish her memory are son Harvey David Hamm, Jr. and wife Linda of Mount Pleasant; daughter Melinda Mayben and husband Paul R. of Pittsburg; granddaughter Jennifer Hamm-Veal and fiancé Kevin of Texarkana; grandson Michael Mayben and wife Karla of Mount Pleasant, Texas; grandson Mitchell Mayben and wife Casey of Pittsburg; great granddaughters Josie Veal, Kenlie Mayben, Kennady Ebarb-Mayben, and Kynslee Ebarb-Mayben; great grandsons Noah Veal and Keyton Mayben; sisters-in-law Beth Jones of Clarksville, Mattie Cash of Fort Worth, Joyce Cooke of Springtown, Texas; Joy Wilson of Decatur, Texas; Cynthia Bishop of Midland, Texas; favorite cousin Ruth Dinwiddie Merritt of Colquitt, Ga., and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the newly established Pittsburg-Camp County Library - Shirley Sloan Hamm Children’s Initiative, 613 Quitman St., Pittsburg, TX, 75686.