Hammer, Mabel Catherine (Suffill)
May 13, 1917- Dec. 5, 2005
In the beautiful Bella Coola Valley, her home of 64 years, Mom left us quietly with dear Kitty by her side. Born in Vancouver and raised during the depression years, Mom, at the tender age of 19, took courage in hand and accepted her first teaching position in a one-room school house situated at Noosatsum, a settlement 15 miles east of the Bella Coola townsite. It was love at first sight for this city schoolmarm when she met Eric, the eldest son of the Hammer family, with whom she boarded. After one year of teachng in Noosatsum, Mom taught in Black Creek, Cape Mudge and finally Maiden Creek Ranch near Clinton, before following her heart’s desire and returning to Bella Coola. Mom and Dad were married on Aug. 7th 1941 and enjoyed nearly 50 wonderful years together at their small farm in Hagensborg. Dad passed away in May of 1991 and Mom missed him more with each passing year. During the 1940’s and 50’s, Mom taught elementary school and later returned to UBC to retrain as a Home Economics teacher. How great that was for us to have good meals and sewing lessons on a daily basis! Being as both parents were interested in the Fall Fair, as summer came to an end our house would be a busy hive of canning jars, pattern pieces, baking powder biscuits and vegetable arrangements. Mom preferred her home to anywhere else. She adored growing roses, reading, and keeping in touch with her children. After retirement Mom enjoyed helping with the local library, she taught adult sewing classes to Nuxalk women, and was an active member of the Women’s Institute. Assisted by her daughter-in-law Kitty, they tended berry, flower and vegetable gardens and had a regular weekend stall at the Farmer’s Market where she was known as the Rose Lady. Having always been passionate about history, she was thrilled at the age of 80, to embark on a trip to Scotland and England with Val and Beth where she got to visit something she’d always dreamed of – a real castle!
Mabel is survived by her son Tom Hammer(Kitty) of Hagensborg, daughters Valerie Biffert (Wayne) of Williams Lake and Beth Hopkins(David) of Courtenay. Also survived by her sister Connie Suffill of Nanaimo and brother Bill (Fran) Suffill of 100 Mile House, grandchildren Haakon, Julie (Yuri), Andrew (Cailey), Jeremy (Elaine), Tyson and one darling wee great-granddaughter Abigail.
She loved reading on a wide variety of topics, but was especially fond of books about India and E.M. Forster’s book “A Passage To India” holds an exquisite passage that sums up Mom’s wonderful life. We are so very glad that she took that boat up the coast in August of 1936.
Alas, without me for thousands of years,
The Rose will blossom and the Spring will bloom,
But those who have secretly understood my heart –
They will approach and visit the grave where I lie.
The family would appreciate hearing from any of Mabel’s former students and friends who have memories they wish to share. Beth – firstname.lastname@example.org or
Val – email@example.com or (mail) Tom/Kitty Hammer, Box 2 Hagensborg, B.C. VOT 1HO