Jerry-Lee (J-Bird) Hammel was born March 29, 1959, to Lee and Sharon Hammel of
Eyota. He graduated from Lewiston Schools in 1980, then moved to a group home in
Winona. While in Winona, he worked at ORC and retired in 2011 after 30 years. Jerry
was active in Special Olympics, winning medals in bowling, swimming and track and
field. Jerry was a huge fan of the Minnesota Vikings, often wearing the purple and
gold. He loved cowboy hats, western wear and John Wayne movies. He was a big
Elvis fan, with posters all over his room and every CD he could find—some even
duplicated! He often had an Elvis impersonator perform at his birthday parties. Jerry
was able to light up a room, and he was always happy…unless you took his quarters
in 6-5-4. His raised eyebrows and fluttering eyes captured everybody’s hearts.
Jerry moved to the Allendale house of Bear Creek Services in Rochester in June of
2012, where he resided until his passing.
Jerry is survived by his mother, Sharon, of Apache Junction, AZ; siblings Sherry (Jim)
Nigon and Joe (Kari) Hammel, both of Eyota, and Kel-lee (Rob) Harling of Queen
Creek, AZ; nieces Sara (John) Rogers, Traci Nigon, Bethany (Jeff) Cargill, and
Kaylee, Jayda, and Vyctoria Hammel; nephews Xander and Caden Harling; six great-
nieces and nephews; and countless aunts, uncles and cousins. He also will be dearly
missed by his lifelong girlfriend, Mary Rinn of Winona.
Jerry is preceded in death by his father, Lee, and grandparents George & Tena Buss
and Herman & Elsie Hammel.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Allendale house,
especially Emily, for the wonderful care given to Jerry.
Visitation will be Saturday, March 17, 10am-12 noon at St. Pauls United Church of
Christ, Eyota, with a service at 12 noon. Rev. Jean Boese is officiating. Burial will be
at a later date.
Schad & Zabel Funeral Home, 115 South Street, Eyota, 55934, 507-545-2020