Joan Youmans Hamm
July 1, 1923 — July 11, 2015
The third and youngest child of Henry Augustus Youmans and Josephine Hughes Youmans, Joan (Dode) grew up alongside her sister, Miriam (Mime) Wellford and her brother, Henry II (Bud), and among several well-loved cousins. She was also influenced and enriched by the lives of many aunts and uncles.
Along with close family ties, Dode was further rooted in Waukesha due to the family’s long history with the Waukesha Freeman. Her father, mother and then her brother, Henry, succeeded each other to the position of publisher of the Waukesha Daily Freeman. The Youmans family’s management of the newspaper began back in 1873, when it was purchased by Henry Mott Youmans.
It then continued under Youmans’ leadership for more than 105 uninterrupted years. Dode served as an executive officer during the years when her brother was publisher and remembered when, in 1952, during her mother’s tenure, the Freeman was recommended for a Pulitzer Prize for its fight against secrecy in government.
With this printing heritage, it made perfect sense that Dode chose English as her college major. She studied at Carroll College and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. She always maintained an avid interest in literature.
Dode became a post-war bride in 1945, when she married Hans Hamm. Together, they set out to raise a large family and were blessed in that goal. They had eight children — Susan (Robert) Waite, Sandy (Colleen), Morgan (Pamela), David (Laura), Paul, Mark, Margaret and Daniel. Although those years were packed with active parenting and homemaking, Dode dedicated two afternoons each month to play bridge with close friends.
As her youngest ones grew, she embraced golf and tennis and honed her bridge skills to the point of playing competitively with her husband. Dode set high standards for herself; whatever she took on, she wanted to do to the best of her ability.
She appreciated all of the performing arts, but especially opera. She once commented that if she could have led a dual life, she would have chosen to be an accomplished opera singer.
She would have made a passionate diva. When life brought joy, she was filled with laughter. When life brought suffering, she met those trials with grace. All of her children experienced her unwavering support and unconditional love. She left a legacy of wisdom, moral strength and dedication to family.
Preceding her in death were her brother, Henry, and an infant son, John.
Surviving her are her husband, Hans; her sister Miriam; eight children; 17 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
A visitation will be held at the Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, 1110 S. Grand Ave., Waukesha, on Wednesday, July 22, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to Carroll University in Waukesha or a charity of your choice.
Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, Crematory & Preplanning Services is honored to serve the family.
For further information, please call the funeral home at 262-547-4035 or visit our website at www.waukeshafunerals.com for directions or to leave the family an online tribute message.