Edward Lee Hamm was born in San Jose, Calif., on July 31, 1929, the only child of Ellen and Lee Hamm. Ed died Feb. 10, 2013, in Polson, Mont.
Ed grew up in Walla Walla, where he attended grade school and high school. When he graduated from Walla Walla High he jokingly said he never wanted to set foot there again. After college, serving in the Army, marrying Merilyn Overby, raising their children, Dave and Shelly, working as a police officer and insurance investigator, Ed returned to Walla Walla High and taught drivers ed for 20 years to thousands of students who learned to drive safely.
Ed divorced, remarried and semi-retired to Monroe, Wash., where he was a traffic safety consultant and taught drivers ed part time. Ed then retired full time and he and his wife, Fran, moved to Polson, Mont., where he enjoyed boating, fishing and traveling. He was a loyal friend with his high school pals whom he remained in contact with, and to his new friends in Polson, which included his breakfast group and the bridge buddies who stated, “Ed played bridge like a river boat gambler.” He was involved in volunteering at the hospital, was a court watch advocate and was a member of Kiwanis. While a member of Kiwanis he wrote the state Kiwanis traffic safety manual, Safe Driving Tips.
From an early age Ed was fascinated with cars and motorcycle riding and racing. Before hybrids were common, Ed could tell the make of the vehicle by its engine sound. He owned, drove and worked on close to 100 cars. Ed loved to tell stories and had many from his earlier life. He was a great raconteur. He was a man of integrity and strong opinions. Ed was a loving, compassionate, fun husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his loving wife, Fran; children, Dave (Debbie) Hamm, Shelley (Dale) Clarke; grandchildren, Merilee (Mike) Richardson, Sandy (Kevin) White, Spencer Smith, Tony Hamm, Charlie Hamm; step-children, James Olson, Mark (Donna) Olson, John (Michelle) Olson, Karen (Ronald) Lund; step-grandchildren, Nick Lund, Eric (Beth) Lund; 10 great-grand/step-great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held April 13 at 2 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Polson, Mont.