I’ve written often about my days growing up in Woodlawn/Crestwood (what they now call the Crestwood North area). Part of that experience, which seems rare today, was the role many of the parents played in the lives of the kids in the neighborhood. Most of those parents are gone now, and we lost one of the very special ones this weekend. My dear friend Vivienne Hamm’s home was one where we were all welcome, and due to a snafu, they were unable to get the obituary in to AL.com in time for Sunday. I’m pleased to post it here to give people an easy place to link to it.
SUNDAY, MARCH 6, 2016 – A memorial service will be held at 4 PM at the St. Augustine Chapel at Alexian Village, 437 Alexian Way, Signal Mountain, TN 37377.
MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2016 – Visitation begins at 10; 30 AM followed by the funeral service at 11;30 AM Johns-Ridout’s Funeral Home, Valley Chapel, 1800 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL 35209.
Burial will at Forest Hills Cemetery, 431 60th Street North, Birmingham, AL.
The obituary, written by Vivienne Nichols
On the night of March 2, 2016, Virginia Mauck Hamm Haigler passed away.
She was born November 22, 1919, in Birmingham, AL, to Lotoise Plant and Lester Charles Mauck. The years within her biological family were happy ones and she adored her parents and brother, Charles Mauck, always and beyond their deaths.
The foundation of Virginia’s Christian faith was nurtured within their Woodlawn household and the tenets and ministries of Methodism.
Virginia was faithful to the fellowship of Woodlawn UMC for seventy years, serving as children’s teacher, president of the Gladys Kirby Sunday School Class, and president of the United Methodist Women.
From 1998-2006, Virginia was a member of Mountain Chapel UMC, Birmingham and after moving to Signal Mountain, TN, she joined Signal Mountain United Methodist.
Virginia loved the church universal, and it came to her in profound ways, especially in the waning months of her life. In that time, Virginia was blessed by the ministries of the pastor and congregation of Signal Mountain UMC, as well as visitors from Signal Crest UMC. Though she missed the joy of meeting them, two missions of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Matteson, IL deeply touched her heart. A beloved Episcopal priest brought the Holy Sacraments to her bedside and she was daily blessed and tended by the staff of the Catholic Alexian Brothers mission. A host of multi-denominational, ordinary saints, present in family members, friends and caregivers rose to the realm of extraordinary in the ways they became, for her, the hands of Christ. A depth of gratitude is felt for her loyal caregivers, Stacey York, Sherry Motley, Reta Owens, physicians and the staff of Alexian Brothers.
On March 27, 1948, Virginia Mauck married Thomas Henry Hamm, Jr. Together they raised three children- Tom, Greg and Vivienne. She was the strong and sacrificial shoulders of her household-a devoted steward of all the blessings bestowed upon her.
Virginia lived the spiritual gift of hospitality and delighted in children. On her deathbed, she gave precise instruction to “Teach the children that Jesus loves them. Teach them reading, writing, arithmetic. And dance.”
She loved dance, whether a simple polka in the living room or a waltz at the Philharmonic Ball in Vienna, Austria. She belonged to several Birmingham dance clubs -Talisman, Lamplighters and Sophisticates.
Virginia was grateful for things of her heritage. Her ancestral home in the Shenendoah Valley at Luray, Virginia. She revered the values placed upon education and hard work. She was a graduate of Woodlawn High School and attended Birmingham Southern College. Virginia was innately curious and an avid learner until the time of her death. She belonged to literary clubs and even when macular degeneration robbed her vision, she listened to audio novels and readings every day until her last.
Her work ethic was one of complete dedication. She worked six years in the pediatric office of Dr. Jerome Weaver. She was office manager, over thirty years, for Dr. John W. Harris.
In 1977, within weeks of one another, Virginia lost both her husband of 29 years and her middle child, Gregory Mark, of only 26 years of age. Her grief was deep, but she allowed the losses to add a gentler dimension to her compassionate nature.
After 10 years of widowhood, Virginia married the man who had been her first date, Collins ‘Cotton’ Haigler. Theirs was a charmed life filled with joys of family, travel, and perfect companionship. They moved to Chattanooga. Cotton passed away, April 10, 2014 and was sorely missed.
Virginia’s stories of life in ‘The Magic City’ held a wealth of knowledge and intrigue. Her loved ones were her finest audience and will evermore cherish the things she told them.
Virginia was strong, intelligent – a great light – whose presence radiated warmth. She was a torch-bearer for the greatest generation. And like a flame, she often burned herself out bringing light to others.
Virginia is survived by her son, Thomas Mauck Hamm and his wife, Diane Nordan.
She is also survived by her daughter, Vivienne Hamm Nichols and her husband David.
Her grandchildren were her ‘angels.’ They are:
Melanie Hamm Toole (Frank), Thomas Aaron Hamm (Jennifer), and John Nordan Hamm (Jennifer), Nicholas Richardson Nichols, IV, (Ashley), David Stonestreet Nichols, Jr. (Elizabeth) and Ellen Virginia Nichols Norris (Field).
Virginia was blessed with 14 great-grandchildren.
Virginia is also fondly remembered by a host nieces and nephews and her “unofficially adopted son” John Harris. Virginia adored a host of Woodlawn ‘boys and girls’ and present friends of her daughter’s were especially dear to her. She declared shortly before her death, ‘I have surely been loved.”
Virginia was grateful for these kinds of love in her life. She never stopped growing in her quest for enlightenment and in the desire to give and receive love.