John S. Hamel

NO. 17672  •  Jun 21, 1926 – Jan 19, 2011

Died in Walnut Creek, CA
Cremated & Inurned

John Samuel 'Jack' Hamel was born on Jun 21, 1926, to Kenneth and Mary Alice Hamel in Toledo, OH. When he was in third grade, a learning experience caused him to come home and tell his parents that he was an artist. Later in life, he was linked to art in many different ways. Jack attended DeVilbiss high school in Toledo and gradu­ated in 1944. Before high school graduation, he joined the Navy Reserve and entered the Notre Dame University V-12 pro­gram. Called to active duty with the Navy, Jack was sent to a quartermaster course in Gulfport, MS, before joining the fleet on board the USS Arcadia, which was recently commissioned at Long Beach, CA. He was elated when Representative Homer Ramey announced that Jack was a candidate for an appointment to the United States Military Academy. This meant that he was to be sent to Amherst College in Massachusetts to prepare him for the entrance exams. Jack was then sent to Ft. Benning, GA, for fur­ther training. He made the grade and en­tered the academy in July 1946 as a member of the class of 1950.

The Corps of Cadets was organized in companies by height, and Jack was as­signed to one of the shorter companies. He survived Beast Barracks very well and was prepared to swing with the challenges of cadet life. With his sense of humor and independent spirit, Jack made friends easily. As a senior, he was promoted to lieutenant as a platoon leader. Word also got around that Jack had a flair for drawing caricatures of people from photographs, and the Class of 1948 asked him to provide caricatures of each graduate for their Howitzer resume. Jack completed 221 of these over a period of months and had the formidable task of presenting former upper-class tormentors into likable people.

Jack met a lovely lady in his junior year, Marie Ficarella, who became a regular visitor. They were married in the Catholic Chapel with a beautiful ceremony the day after graduation. Soon after, Jack began his infantry assignments and later returned to the Ft. Benning Infantry School, com­pleting the course on Dec 19, 1953. The Korean War was over by this time and Jack considered a return to civilian life. He was discharged into the reserves at Ft. Lewis, Washington on Apr 30, 1954.

Jack joined the Owens-Illinois Company in 1954, and worked with them, both domestically and internationally, for the next 30 years. His first assignment was as an industrial engineer with the Owens-Illinois glass companies in Oakland (and later Los Angeles), CA.

Next he was transferred as a cost control supervisor to the plant at San Jose, CA. He then became the factory manager for that plant, producing plastic containers (includ­ing the first plastic Clorox bottles on the west coast). During this time the company developed an automated process for produc­ing and packaging pharmaceutical vials.

He then transferred to headquar­ters of Owens-Illinois at Toledo, OH, as Operations Manager for plastic products in twelve facilities in the United States. His responsibilities included factory design and construction, equipment design and prod­uct design.

Jack returned to Oakland, CA, as fac­tory manager. The plant had 2,500 employ­ees that manufactured glass containers on a 24-hour, seven days per week schedule. The plant dealt with 11 international unions and 14 local unions. Among their products were food jars and beverage bottles. While in Oakland he served on the board of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Junior Achievement orga­nization.

After six years Jack was sent to Brazil to serve as president and chairman of CISPER, the largest glass container com­pany in Brazil (with factories and offices throughout Brazil and South America), which was created by Owens-Illinois in partnership with local Brazilian business­men. While in this assignment Jack created and established an annual industrial-design competition for Brazil University students. His community involvement in Rio de Janeiro included serving on the board of the American Club, and he was president of the American Society. After the Brazil experi­ence, Jack was reassigned to Owens-Illinois’ International Division headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. While there, he served as a vice-president responsible for technical sup­port and worldwide licensing for company lines in glass and plastics. He retired in 1986 and settled in Perrysburg, OH.

Jack and Marie raised a family of three boys. Steven was born in 1951, David in 1953, and Thomas in 1956. Jack and Marie also started an independent bookstore in Perrysburg as well as a design business spe­cializing in supplemental design for historic homes. He later became president of the lo­cal historical society.

In 1988, the family moved to Danville, CA. Here, he was active in doing design work in historical organizations and created many illustrations for books and maga­zines. Jack spent more than two years creat­ing a 140-foot-long frieze for the Danville museum of the San Ramon Valley depict­ing the rich history of the area. For this work, Jack was named Citizen of the Year.

Jack passed away on Jan 19, 2011. Looking back at his exemplary business ca­reer and his contribution to historical works and his many illustrations for books and magazines, his was a life well lived and a fine example of service to his fellow citizens.

— Carl Johnson, roommate