James's Story

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James "Jim" Warren Hamner of Huntsville passed away peacefully on Sept. 24, 2017. He was born April 16, 1929, in the Nathan community near Arley, to David Henderson Hamner and Ida Hendon Hamner, the youngest of their children.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his sisters, Maureen Hamner Melear, Kathleen Hamner Campbell, Regina Myrl Hamner Lovett; brothers, Fred (Barney) Hamner and Harold Max Hamner; and niece, Mary Lovett Bridges.
He is survived by his beloved wife of almost 62 years, Sarah Kathryn Strange Hamner; nephews, Philip Hamner, Keith Campbell (Annie), Jimmy Campbell, John Melear (Laurie); nieces, Gayla Melear Kidd, Nan Hamner Troiano, Sandy Hamner Preston, Peggy Lovett Norris, Judy Lovett Hiller; and many great- and great-great-nieces and -nephews. He also will be deeply missed by a large extended family of cousins and many close friends.
Jim graduated from Meek School in Arley in 1947, where he served as president of the senior class. In 1951, he received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry and biology from Florence State Teachers College, now the University of North Alabama.
In July 1951, he was employed by Thiokol Corporation, one of two major government contractors located on Redstone Arsenal at the threshold of the missile and space age. His four-decade career was in the field of solid rocket propellant development research at Thiokol, the last 12 years as supervisor of the Propellant Development Group. He performed innovative experimental work in the chemistry laboratory and was involved with all phases of composite propellant development and, to some extent, with development of liners and insulation for rocket motors. Jim's contributions spanned rocket and missile development from the Hermes and Sergeant to the Patriot, and he received approximately a dozen patent awards for development of rocket propellants.
He was a competitive tennis player, liked to golf, and enjoyed travel. He and Kathy traveled to every state of the U.S. and to at least three other continents. His favorite place, however, was their summer home on beautiful Smith Lake near the community in which he had grown up. Over the years, he and Kathy hosted hundreds of guests and groups there. A major priority in his life was his church affiliation. Jim was a faithful member of Mount Zion Baptist Church, serving as a deacon for more than 41 years, a teacher of youth and adults, choir member, and member of various committees. After retirement, he performed voluntary mission work for a new church in Ukraine.
Jim's continuing joy in life, generosity, sense of humor, and interest in and concern for others were precious gifts he shared with countless relatives and friends in his community and abroad. He leaves a legacy of cherished memories.
Gratitude is expressed to nephew, Chris Meacham, and wife, Alston, great-nephew, John Kidd, medical staff, and others for loving and dedicated care for him in recent weeks.
Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Funeral services will follow at the church with Dr. Ron Madison officiating. A second visitation will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at Meek Baptist Church Cemetery in Arley, with burial to follow. (www.laughlinservice.com)
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Mount Zion Baptist Church Memorial Fund or one's favorite charity.
Published on September 25, 2017
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