Michael Jay Hamm, age 66 of White Cloud, MI passed away in his sleep on September 13, 2020 at Faith Hospice, Trillium Woods, in Byron Center, MI. He walks with Angels. Mike was born in Grand Haven, MI on March 17, 1954 to the late Jay and Jacqueline (Hirdes) Hamm.
He was born with Cerebral Palsy (“CP”). His parents were advised that Mike was developmentally disabled. They refused to accept that and insisted Mike receive a mainstream education without special treatment. He learned early in life that CP would not define him and that it would not place limits on him. Mike participated in varsity athletics as team manager. He graduated from Grand Haven Sr. High School in 1973. Mike went on to earn bachelor’s degrees from Michigan State University (1977), Grand Valley State University (1984); and an MSW from Grand Valley State University (1987).
He was a Mason and was a former member of Trinity Reformed Church (Grand Haven) and was affiliated with other Christian organizations. He spent most of his career as a psychiatric social worker for Newaygo County Community Mental Health. Mike became the Youth Services Supervisor in 1993 and retired as the Adult Services Supervisor. Following his retirement, Mike continued to be an advocate by serving on various boards that provided oversight to non-profits working on behalf of Mental Health Consumers, as well as entities that served people with disabilities.
Mike was kind, charming, witty, a great friend, a classic bachelor and fiercely independent. He loved a good joke. Mike was known for being an excellent turkey hunter (and guide), and was a dedicated bow-hunter into the early 90s. When his CP made it impossible for him to draw a bow, he focused on hunting with a rifle. Some of the animals Mike harvested included whitetail deer, mule deer, red stag, and mouflon sheep. He was also instrumental in developing several chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Mike introduced many hunters to the sport of turkey hunting and donated time, energy, and money to the cause of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Mike loved watching football, college basketball, and the Detroit Pistons. He enjoyed watching NASCAR with his Dad and was a friend to many. Mike enjoyed gourmet food, fine wines, and scotch. He loved John Wayne. Those that knew Mike knew he was the personification of True Grit. He was a Patriot and a student of American History and especially enjoyed reading books that focused on the military. Mike loved to travel; his last trip (June 2019) saw him travel (by himself) to Normandy, France to attend the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.
Mike is survived by his aunts, Gwen Myles and Linda (Al) Pontarelli (all Grand Haven); his special friend, Leona Royer (Big Rapids); and a village of great friends, colleagues and co-workers. He was preceded in death by his parents; and a couple great beagles.
The Funeral Service for Mike will be at Trinity Reformed Church on Friday, September 18, 2020 at 11:00 am. Visitations will be held on Wednesday, September 16th from 6 to 9 p.m. at Crandell Funeral Home in White Cloud, and Thursday, September 17th from 6 to 9 p.m. at Klaassen Family Funeral Home. Guests who attend the funeral and/or visitation(s) will need to practice social distancing and wear a mask.
Mike intended his friends and family to have a party where they have a drink and share funny stories about his life. Due to Covid-19, a casual celebration of his life in this manner will be held at later time.
Memorial contributions may be made to Disability Network West Michigan: Mike Hamm Memorial Fund for Outdoor Recreation or the White River Long Beards Chapter of the NWTF: JAKES Events.
** Due to technical difficulties, the live stream on Klaassen Family Funeral Home's facebook page originally scheduled for Friday's Funeral Service, has been canceled. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Michael "Mike" Jay Hamm, please visit our floral store.
Family and friends are invited to RSVP to this service.
Disability Network West Michigan: Mike Hamm Memorial Fund for Outdoor Recreation
27 E. Clay Ave., Muskegon MI 49442
White River Long Beards Chapter of the NWTF: JAKES Events
1441 E. Swain St., White Cloud MI 49349