Clara Etta Hammer was born near Lincolnville, Kansas, in October 1907. She was the sixth of eight children born to William Leslie and Susan Jane Clapsadle Hammer.
Clara attended all 12 grades at Lincolnville, walking to school and working in a grocery store to support her education. She played high school basketball and graduated salutatorian of her class in 1927.
After graduation, she became a teacher and taught for two years in a one-room schoolhouse at East Creek School District, southeast of Lincolnville.
On June 12, 1929, she was united in marriage to Herbert L. “Herb” Bredemeier. They made their home in Marion County, where their family grew to include two children: Richard H. “Dick” and Laura Jane.
In the early years, they farmed and raised sheep, dairy cows, and chickens, so they would have the food that they provided. She raised a large garden and canned the fruits of her labor. Clara was a gifted homemaker.
When she worked outside the home, it was in grocery and bakery stores. She often volunteered at Valley United Methodist Church and was active in their women’s group; she was involved with many charitable organizations, and diligently responded with messages and condolence food packages to homes of grieving friends and families.
In the 1950s, she and Herb designed and built their home where they would enjoy living the remainder of his life. Herb passed away in 2003, giving the couple 74 years of marriage. Clara would stay in the home until failing health required a move to nursing care.
On Oct. 27, 2012, Clara passed away peacefully at St. Luke Living Center in Marion. She was 105 years old.
She was preceded in death by her husband; all of her siblings, Jessie Lynn, Mary Ann Gutsch, Laura Hammer, Alice Schimpf, Maggie Boettcher, Minnie Irvin, and William Richard Hammer; and a grandson, Jon Bredemeier.
She is lovingly survived by her children, Dick and wife Evelyn Bredemeier of Marion and Col. Laura Bredemeier, retired AN of Petaluma, Calif.; grandchildren, Michael and his wife Lynne Bredemeier, Don and wife Pam Bredemeier, and Jim Bredemeier; great-grandchildren, Jeffrey, Jon, Jaime, Joshua and Jenessa Bredemeier, and Jake Bredemeier.
The funeral service was Thursday at Valley United Methodist Church. Officiating Pastor Andrew West honored Clara with a wonderful, heartfelt service that was enriched by his obvious sincerity. The musicians, Dr. Joan Johnson of Petaluma, Calif., and Mr. Greg Carlson of Marion, Kan., shared their vanguard talent with special instrumental music: aria “God’s Time is Best,” J.S. Bach, and with special vocal music: “In the Garden” and “Beyond the Sunset.” All most inspiring and music Clara greatly appreciated. Interment was at Marion Cemetery.
A memorial fund has been established with Valley United Methodist Church.