Lorraine Marilyn (Peterson) Hammer

Lorraine Marilyn (Peterson) Hammer, proud to be 90, long time resident of Bird Island, Minnesota died April 1, 2023 at Golden Horizons Memory Care Home in Crosslake, Minnesota.  Funeral services will be on Saturday, May 13th at 2:30 pm at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Bird Island with Pastor Dan Croonquist officiating.  Burial will be in the Bird Island City Cemetery.  Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday.  Memorials are preferred to the hospice organization of your choice.  Arrangements with Dirks-Blem Funeral Service in Olivia, MN.

Lorraine was born on April 19, 1932 to Leonard and Stella (Carlson) Peterson in Palmyra Township near Hector, Minnesota.  Lorraine married Richard David Hammer on April 18, 1951, at her parent’s farm in Melville Township.  Together they had two children, Renae and Steve.  Lorraine and Richard lived on their farm in Bird Island for 60 years before moving to a house in Bird Island.  Their farm home started as a real fixer upper and over the years became a beautiful and beloved home and gardens, and a place for family and friends to share a meal and visit.  She and Dick accomplished all this while working full time and with never a still moment when not.

Lorraine was a people person. She loved to be with friends including the “Card Club” that hardly ever played cards. She was the glue that held people together by organizing family reunions and other get-togethers. Cousins would stop and stay at Dick and Lorraine’s because it felt like home. She was a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Bird Island where she was the first woman to serve on the Church Council, and where she led her circle’s Bible Study for many, many years.  She believed in the importance of family and worked on collecting family histories, putting together books for each family branch. She wrote stories about “years gone by” that were often published in the Prime-Time Reflections of People 55 and Older. She also wrote poetry about family or about life in the country. Hobbies included making ceramics with mothers Sophie and Stella, gardening, bird watching, and painting wooden Christmas decorations that Dick would cut out, or painting birds.  And Lorraine wrote letters!  A daily habit – keeping in touch with aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, classmates, kids and grandkids who were close or far away.  Her letters were an account of daily life and a way to share what was happening back home before email!  The artist in her also continued to be a part of her life even in her last years when she would tell others what colors to use when they colored with her during a visit. All in all, in many ways, her gift was to make people comfortable.

The grandchildren remember playing cards with Grandma and getting up in the morning to a call of “Di-i-ick, make pancakes”. Memories of everyday things she taught them…how to make a bed, wrap presents, sweep the floor, telling stories of “how things were” when she was young. They remember sitting on the counter to make brownies with Rainy Peter as they called her and in future years receiving care packages sent to grandkids away from home. Proud of her Scandinavian heritage, she loved making those heritage foods for family, and if one batch of lefsa was good then two would be even better. Lorraine will be remembered for bringing family and friends together with many late nights and with laughter too loud for the kids to sleep.

Lorraine is survived by

  • Her daughter, Renae (Rob) Saunders of Merrifield; grandchildren, Liza (Jon) Davis of St Michael, and Holly (David) Baur of Minneapolis; and great-grandchildren: Annalise and Eli Davis, and Olivia and Westley Baur.
  • Her son, Steven (Liz) Hammer of St. Cloud; grandchildren: Jason Hammer of Maple Grove, Mary (Cory) Stenberg of St Michael, Andrew (Jamie) Hammer of Duluth, William (Leah) Hammer of Maple Grove; and great-grandchildren: Dillon and Nora Hammer (Andrew and Jamie’s), and Ian Stenberg (Mary and Cory’s)
  • Her siblings: Lowell (Bobbie) Peterson of Cokato, Ruth Peterson of Eden Prairie, and Ronald (Pat) Peterson of Annandale.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Stella Peterson, and her husband, Richard Hammer.

Dirks-Blem Funeral Service, Olivia, MN