Hood River News
May 15, 2010
"Florence Johnston Hammer"
Florence J. Hammer passed away at Anita’s care home in Parkdale, Ore., on May 10, 2010.
Florence was born Oct. 7, 1906, in White Sulphur Springs, Mont., to Murray and Ethel
Johnston and was 103 years of age at the time of her passing.
Florence’s parents were cattle ranchers, living in a log house several miles from any
roads or neighbors. The first born in a family of six, Florence learned to care for herself
and her siblings who followed. Florence attended the first school in Shannon, Mont.,
which was a log cabin.
In 1922 when Florence was 16, part of her family traveled to Oregon in a Dodge via the
Columbia River Highway, which was unpaved and full of ruts. They had car trouble and her
mother became ill.
The family camped for days until her mother was well enough to travel. They settled in
Salem, Ore., where Florence later attended Willamette University.
On Sept. 24, 1927, Florence married Herman Hammer. In October of 1928 her daughter Lois
was born. They had two daughters, Loree and Lois. Loree died at the age of seven months.
Herman and Florence became farmers, clearing many acres of land by pulling stumps with
teams of horses and hand raking the ground to remove the roots left behind. The couple
grew grain and later potatoes, which they sold to local businesses under the “Hammer”
brand. Florence worked at Paulus Brothers cannery in Salem in the 1940s.
Florence and Herman loved to fish for steelhead at Hebo, flounder at Sand Lake and
striped bass near Coos Bay, where her daughter Lois and son-in-law Ed lived in Coquille
in the late 1940s. In winter she enjoyed sledding with the best of them down her long,
curvy driveway or through a cherry orchard and over a wooden bridge in The Dalles.
The Hammers purchased a small farm in Woodburn, Ore., containing a small walnut
orchard. Florence harvested the walnuts, then dried and shelled them one at a time, and
sold them to Pine Grove Grocery in the 1970s
Herman passed away in 1961. Florence worked for Birdseye in Woodburn. In the late 1960s
Florence lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Lois and Ed Neufeldt, in the Pine Grove
area of Hood River, Ore. Florence loved to garden and weeds didn’t stand a chance with
her around. Her much-used shovel is a tribute to her hard work.
She accompanied her brother Dave and wife on a trip to New York seeing sights and
special Broadway shows. She made several trips to Mexico to visit Ed and Lois in San
Carlos. On one trip she had to “walk the plank” to cross over the washed-out driveway, to
get to the airport on time.
Later, with health failing, Florence moved to Hawks Ridge then on to Anita Allen’s care
home in Mount Hood, Ore.
Florence got to enjoy probably more birthday cakes than the average person and elected
to “pinch” out the flame instead of the usual practice.
Florence is survived by her daughter, Lois Neufeldt; three grandchildren, Roger Neufeldt,
Doug Neufeldt and Peggy Jo Leslie, all of Hood River; six great-grandchildren, Jason
Neufeldt, Stefanie Hughes, Jane Osborne, Teresa Ellifritz, Chase Drum and Grant Drum;
and five great-great-grandchildren, Cailey Hughes, Madeline Hughes, Alex Ellifritz, Emilie
Ellifritz and Aaron Osborne.
Memorials can be made in Florence’s name to Hospice of the Gorge or the Pine Grove
Fire Department and sent in care of Anderson’s Tribute Center.
A service to honor Florence is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at Anderson’s Tribute
Center, 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Graveside rites will follow
at Pine Grove Cemetery. Please visit www.andersonstributecenter.com to leave a note of
condolence for family.