Joan Eloise Hammerly Tjossem

TjossemJoan Eloise Hammerly Tjossem, 100, on December 26, 2021, in hospice care at WesleyLife’s the Village, a senior living community in Indianola, Iowa. She had celebrated her 100th birthday in June in the company of many of her extended family members gathered at the family church near the Hammerly farm north of Newton, Iowa.

Joan was born on June 25, 1921, the eldest child of Watt Hammerly and Lucille Scott Hammerly. She attended local public schools, graduating from Newton High School in 1939. After a year working on the family dairy farm and doing photographic work for Tyler Studio in Newton, she enrolled at Webster City Junior College in the fall of 1940. She transferred to William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in the fall of 1941. There she met Wilmer Luverne Tjossem, whom she married on Christmas Day in 1943. Her husband was assigned in that same year to work in various mental hospitals in fulfillment of his obligation to the Civilian Public Service as a Quaker conscientious objector. Joan accompanied Wilmer to a state hospital in Medical Lake, Wash. She returned to Newton in 1945 to give birth to their first son, Norman. After World War II, Wilmer returned to complete his undergraduate education at William Penn College, where their second son, Bradley, was born in 1949.

Wilmer was hired to manage fundraising and finance for American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) North Central Regional Office in Des Moines, Iowa. The family resided in nearby Ankeny and, later, in Des Moines until 1964 when they moved to a new assignment for AFSC in Denver, Colo. Wilmer was transferred to the national headquarters of AFSC in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1968. Joan was hired by AFSC to do secretarial and clerical work until their retirement in 1985. Joan was a member of the Religious Society of Friends, joining Des Moines Valley Meeting; attending Mountain View Meeting in Denver; and, later, Media (Pa.) Meeting. They rejoined Des Moines Valley Meeting upon their return to Iowa in 1985 following retirement. After several years residing in Newton, Joan and Wilmer moved to WesleyLife’s the Village in Indianola.

Classical music was always at the heart of the Hammerly family, and Joan became an accomplished cellist, frequently performing with the family ensemble at public and private events in the Jasper County, Iowa area. Joan was a meticulous and skilled archivist, dedicating many years to extensively researching family trees and preserving documents and photographs. She traveled widely in Europe, Latin America, and China.

Joan was predeceased by her husband, Wilmer Tjossem; three sisters; and one brother. She is survived by two children, Norman Tjossem (Betty) and Bradley Tjossem (Susie); two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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