I hope you remember me. Rob was my best friend at UWSP, especially our Freshman year on 4North - Burroughs Hall. I just learned of his passing. The tears have not stopped. He was so special and I looked up to him. He was the one who gave me the nickname "Buckets" which I still use with pride to this day. That first year at Point he had the coolest casual shoes that I just had to have. So, on one of our trips to Madison he took me to the store and I bought MY pair. We were so close spiritually and physically - he would walk into my room, not say a thing, look through my clothes in my closet, make a selection and walk out. I loved it - and knew it. We were the best of buddies!!!! I remember him talking to me about you. Asking my advice about "what should I say, what should I do"? Like I was some man-of-the-world. It was because he loved you so and wanted to keep you so he would get several opinions to "do the right thing". That was the loving, gentle side of him that drew me to his soul. I am so sorry we lost touch. Why does that happen? I hope you are at peace. It will take some time for me to come to grips with the passing of this wonderful man, my buddy, my confidant and my mentor. Good bye Rob, thank you for sharing part of your wonderful life with me.
Rorie and family,
My most heartfelt prayers go out to you at this difficult time. Rob is my step cousin, his Grandmother married my Grandfather. I remember lots of great times in Lynxville, WI when we were kids. Rob had asked me if I had ever considered coming to Alaska and going fishing a long time ago. I wish so much now that I had. He was such a fun person when we were kids and I'm sure he was that all his life... a fun person to be around. I sure wish we had kept in touch more. Loved him as a kid and am sure I would have loved even more being around the man he had become. I am grateful to God for having known Rob. Take care and sleep well knowing he was such an inspriation to so many. May God be with you always.
Rorie, and Family
I just heard the news. My heart and prayers go out to you and the family. I met you only met briefly when you and Rob had first started to hang out. Bob and I were friends in the Burroughs dorm at Stevens Point. He traveled with Me, Tim Kirkpatrick and Jim Klunick "Curly" on a ski trip to ALTA Utah. He sure loved skiing. On another ski romp to Rib Mtn we were hitchhiking up and back to Point and we had missed the last vehicle out of the park. He was so upset cause he told me he was Soooo into this Rorie chick and had to get back soon and that it would take half the night to get there. We darn near walked the thirty miles home that night. He was a great guy, I have great memories and Mary Ellen and I will be praying that you can weather this storm, and somehow find God's Peace.
To Rorie, Raina and Ryan, I can only say that Rob was a great friend to me. I will always remember his great attitude and warm smile. I am so very sorry for your loss, and all of our loss of this great guy. His kind are few and far between. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Worked with Rob on Girdwood Fire and in the Alyeska aid room. He was always the person you could count on when someone needed help. Will miss his smile.
We met Rob last at a Wisconsin Badger tailgate get together in the garage on Harrison Street with Mary Jo and her family and friends. Our sympathy for your loss. Best Wishes from our home to yours.
Dear Rorie and family,
My heart and thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time. Rob and I were good friends from 7th grade through high school at Madison West. We were roommates at Stevens Point, having good memories through all of those years, too many to share. I even remember the night Rob met Rorie at the orientation dance at Point. Rob and I both went on to school at Marquette University, before Rob made the decision to travel to beautiful Alaska. He was a great guy and will be sorely missed. Please know I will be thinking of you and your family.
We've never met but, I was so distressed to learn of Rob's passing at Mass this morning. The priest mentioned the passing of Mary Jo Teirney's brother Rob and I immediately slumped. Rob and I shared many classes at Madison West High School and were on the wrestling team together. What a wonderful and compassionate guy.
My family and I extend our deepest sympathy.
Rob's name was one I recognized, when first moving to Girdwood in 1989, as one sitting in my "in basket" at Denali NP headquarters--batteries desperately needed for rangers out the road! What a treat to meet this "kind, gentile and always smiling" guy in person! Rob never failed to stop and talk about family at the post office, whether after a long day in the midnight sun or a short/long work day of winter's challenges. My heart bleeds for Rorie, Ryan and Raina. Rob's pervasive, peaceful spirit will float eternally over Alyeska. New Year's fireworks in his honor?
As a new father, Rob recently passed on some wisdom given to him by Donny Haglund when Rorie was expecting their first child. Donny said, "Rob, it's going to be great... You get a friend for the rest of your life."
The last time I talked with Rob just a few days before he died, he told me how much he was looking forward to skiing with his family over the holidays.
Rob will be missed!
Je suis profondément attristée par la mort de ton père.I hope you will found some recomfort as thinking about him as a hero.Je pense`à toi très fort et j'aimerais vous serrer dans mes bras toi et Richard.Give my regards to your mother.
A ski friend from Tremblant
My loving thoughts and prayers to you dear Rorie, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband.
Rorie and family, I was deeply saddened at the news of Rob's passing, and my heart goes out to you. Rob and I were close friends in the 8th and 9th grade in Madison.... We were in Scouts together camping in the snow; we rode our bikes up to Manitowoc one day and rode the ferry across Lake Michigan; we passed lazy afternoons fishing on the river at the Avoca cottage, and the usual things 14 year old boys do. Rob was funny, witty, energetic and kind, and he will always remain so in my memory. Please accept my sincere condolences.
Too sad. Makes me cry while reading about this. I was amazed by Bob in junior year at West High. I've basically always looked forward to seeing him at a reunion. So sad for your family loss, Rorie. Will say a distinctive prayer for a very lovable man. I wish you peace and strength to get through this. Love, Marti Dapin
Dear Rorie, Raina and Ryan
We are so sorry. Bob and I have been reminiscing of the great memories we have of Rob and your family. From Little Bears to Bob working with Rob on ski patrol to the many fun Girdwood functions. Rob was such a gentle and kind soul.
We hope you are finding strength in all the love around you. You and your family will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Dearest Raina, Words alone cannot express our sympathy on the untimely passing of your beloved father. He will be sorely missed by all who loved and knew him. Hopefully the outpouring of sympathy you are receiving will serve as a reminder of how well-loved he was. May you find peace and comfort in knowing that he was a great man. Love, Barbara, Loren, Shawna and Steven Hoffman
Rorie, Ryan, Raina, friends and family - So unfair for you to have this tragedy to deal with. I've gone back to the high school and Stevens Point memories so many time this last week - wrestling matches, the water balloon launcher, Rib Mountain, Poor Henry's, spring breaks at Trout Lake, and many more. I truly wish I'd have stayed in closer touch since Rob's journey took him away from WI. My family sends our deepest sympathy to all who were associated with Rob. I will take my memories and the testimonials about Rob shared here with me for the rest of my days and use them to help make me a better man.
As a close friend and classmate of Dave, Rob's younger brother, I first met Rob when he was in about 6th grade. I remember him as a big brother figure to all of Dave's friends, someone we looked up to. Actually, I also remember a few poundings we took, but always in good fun.
After Rob moved to Alaska, I had the chance to visit him on two occasions and most recently saw him on a trip he took to Hawaii several years ago.
Rob had a quality that defies description: an inner peace, calmness and sense of wisdom. His actions always reflected his true nature. In a sense Rob left us doing what seemed to have been his mission on earth, which was taking care of his fellow man. I will never forget his generous and caring manner and ability to make anyone feel comfortable. I still have great memories of visiting Rob and Rorie at Wonder Lake about 20 years ago. My wife, Tamara, and another couple invaded his small but cozy cabin. After a traumatic encounter with the ravenous Alaskan mosquitoes, Rob volunteered his cabin to us and offered to sleep outside in a tent. I think somehow we all managed to find shelter that night but I remember watching in amazement as Rob would walk and work outside without even apparently noticing the man eating mosquitos that kept the rest of us prisoners inside. It seems even the mosquitoes respected and lived harmoniously with Rob. What a great time we had, fishing in the light of night at midnight on Wonder lake with Denali in the distance. I don't think I've been anywhere as beautiful and peaceful. I know Rob loved what he did and where he lived. We also got to see Rorie during our stay when she got free from her job at the hotel. Like Rob, Rorie seemed totally happy and at home at Wonder Lake.
Although I had not been in touch with Rob since his trip to Hawaii, several years ago, Dave would always update me on Rob, Rorie,Ryan and Raina. Raina and Ryan do not know me, but I feel like I know them through the stories I've heard. If a man can be measured by those he leaves behind, that alone shows Rob's greatness as a husband and father.
I hope Rob's family and friends will find comfort and happiness in reading about how Rob touched and truly affected so many people lucky enough to call him a friend. I will remember and miss Rob and am thankful to have been his friend and a friend of the entire Hammel family.
Being Raina's friend and medical school classmate in Boston, I only had the opportunity to meet Rob once. In our brief moments interacting it became clear the depth of his warmth, intellect, introspection, and kindness. Within thirty seconds he had invited my wife Shannon and I to come visit Alaska. I grieve for Raina, Rorie, & Ryan. And I know that when we finally do get to Alaksa, our stay will be a little less magical in Rob's absence.
He has simply gone on ahead to make a place for the rest of you when it's your turn to join him. You are a very special family and it was our privilege and pleasure to associate with you all those years ago in Denali Park. May "the peace that passes understanding" be with you all as you bid a very temporary farewell to your dad and husband. He remains near to you; it is only your temporal vision that says he is "gone". A favorite Mormon motto: Families Are Forever!
Rorie, Raina, Ryan:
Words can not express our profound sorrow for your, and the world's loss of Rob. Rob was a fine man who was a wonderful father, husband, mentor, friend to many, and an unselfish and unassuming stalwart in the communities where he lived, worked, played and raised your family. It was/is a privilege knowing Rob and your family and sharing with Rob all those moments watching Raina, Ryan and our children as they developed into fine young adults. His warm smile, caring demeanor and gentle spirit will be missed. Rob's smile on his photo says it all - it is the window to his heart. Larry, Kathy, Nikki and Chelsea Holmes
I am so sorry to hear about the accident. Rob was a great guy and i am sure he is skiing in heaven..
What a loss... I am again soo sorry.
Chuck Swenor, retired from DOT now living in the upper penisula of Michigan
Dear Rorie, Rye-guy and Raina, I too am still mourning the loss of our friend and your loved one. Forever will he be in my thoughts. God Bless all of you and I am sorry I cannot make it to the service. Celebrate his life as he would have wanted it to be done. Dave and Mickie Daigle
Dear Rorie, Raina and Ryan,
Hi. I am so sorry for your loss. One of my greatest pleasures being in Girdwood or anywhere else has been to run into Rob. He always brightened my day, often with reports on how his kids and wife were doing with great pleasure and pride.
You are a wonderful family and I send you kind regards and strength and hope that you
find your way through this time with the grace of Robs great Spirit warming your hearts.
Thanks for the long conversations,for sharing your experiences, and for putting in long hours during bridge inspections.
My favorite memory of Rob is of him knocking on Kathy's dorm room window in the middle night (morning??). Kathy ran across the hall to our room to get Rorie (and I) up. We all ran to her window only to find Rob standing below her window in all of his "ski gear"--a huge grin on his face (below his ski goggles mind you). It was the first snow fall (an inch at most :) and he wanted Rorie to come out and play with him! (I still don't know why he walked/skied to Kathy's window instead of ours--maybe because it was a tad closer and maneuvering on skies in virtually no snow had to be difficult at best!)
Rob, know that Tom and I will always celebrate your smile, your playfulness, your thoughtfulness, your heart, and your life...
P.S. btw...of course Rorie joined Rob that night in the snow...Kathy and I just went back to bed thinking they were both crazy :)
I loved seeing Rob in our yoga classes at the community center. He always had a smile on his face. The people of Girdwood are better for having had Rob in our lives.
Please accept our condolences for your loss. We didn't have the privilege of knowing Robert but he certainly earned our son's respect through working with him on DOT and the Alyeska Ski Resort. We were saddened when our son told us of the tragic accident which ended the life of a very special man. You're in our hearts and prayers. Jim and Loretta McDonald
I'll never forget our fun times in Kantishna. Thank you Rob. Walk in peace, Bro!
Rob you will be forever missed and never forgotten.
Thank you for all the joy and wonder you brought to life!
I only knew Rob for one ski season at Alyeska and in that time I found a great comfort in chatting with him and getting to know him. My thoughts are most certainly with his family and friends.
So sorry to hear of Rob's death. Always enjoyed talking with him and seeing him with his family. I used to ski a lot with Jim Graves and Lindy Larson and saw Rob a lot on the mountain.
Rob will always be one of my 'touchstone' memories, at the heart of the time I spent working at Denali. Remembering him, and your incredible family living together at Wonder Lake seems like yesterday. Rob's smile, gentle spirit, always a kind word for friends and strangers alike, are etched in my memory. I am in Antarctica, but I will be with you in spirit as you celebrate his incredible life. He is one of those people who truly made the world a better place. My heart goes out to you Rorie, Raina and Ryan. I am so deeply sorry for your loss.
To all of our Hammel Ohana - Our hearts aches for you, Words are hard to speak, such a tragic loss. We hope there is some comfort in the outpouring of love and sentiment we all want to share in Rob's memory. I took this photo in Homer, July 2011. Rob had just got off the Ferry from Seldovia. I love the photo, - the wide grin - I loved Rob - my lifelong friend- our dad's boxed in college before they married. I remember the tall dark haired kid in leiderhosen, sporting those dark rimmed glasses. High school together. We waved him off when he left Madison in the rambler, "Alaska or Bust" sign in the window. Rob, the gentlest of souls, with a heart of gold. He appreciated the smallest and most delicate pieces of nature, he paused to enjoy it and often went out of his way to soak it in - Rob took time to smell the flowers, visit the elderly, catch a sunset, help an injured animal, or a stranger in need- He showed compassion. He was proud to show us his Alaska, we are so grateful for that time, grateful for Rob and to have known him - Aloha Oe Rob, - Until we meet again my friend . Judy & Dan
I had the pleasure of meeting Rob and Rorie nearly 30 years ago while collecting water at the fire station and then working on the mountain. Good people, Rob touched so many and will not be forgotten. Unfortunately I am unable to attend Rob's Celebration of Life. My deepest condolences to Rorie, Ryan and Raina.
Rorie, Jim Klunick called with the sad news. I just read the obituary with water in my eyes, even though I haven't seen Rob since he left Point. What a guy and what a life. I regret that Dori and I never got up to Alaska. I always wanted to see you guys and your life in the wild. We share your grief. Hopefully you remember, I was Rob's hall director in Pray Sims and a champion for him when he applied for the AD role. Blessings from the Jurys.
John and Dori Jury
Stevens Point WI
Rory, Raina, and Ryan,
I am so terribly sorry to hear of your loss.
Rob Hammel's smile and his always kind greetings were things that made Girdwood an awesome place to live.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
I got to work with Rob for the last 30 years on the Alyeska ski patrol. I will not forget the powder skiing we shared, his Big bear paw hands and that Sparkle in his Smile :) Rest Easy My Friend you and your family are in our thoughts.
Rob will be missed by Dick and I. May his spirit be flown high on wings of Eagle. My heart goes out to you Rorie, and to you Raina, and to you Ryan. Though we are not in Alaska this winter, know that your thoughts and prayers are with you. Hope to give you all hugs this summer.
May the Lord enjoy the presence of Rob's gentle soul as much as we have in this life. My introduction to ski patrolling at Alyeska in 1978 was made more fun and more complete through Rob's firm but gentle guidance as he made his way from liftee to patroller to avalanche controller. Every time I was in his presence, he exuded such confidence, gentleness, knowledge and skill, with the constant desire to improve the lives of those around him.
Rob is the consummate example of the adage that those who give more enjoy life more.
Rorie, Cathy and I send our hearts to you and your kiddos. We love you as we loved Rob. He will be sorely missed and you are always in our thoughts and prayers.
Please accept our condolences. What an amazing life Rob had. You will be blessed with wonderful memories.
Raina, whenever you spoke about your Dad it was so obvious how much you loved and respected him. After reading the story of his life, I can see why. It's also clear that he passed many of his wonderful qualities on to you (gee, genetics works!), and I'm sure that you meant the world to him. Thanks for sharing your Dad's life with us--we're thinking of you during this difficult time.
John and Kathy
I have been on the Alyeska Ski Patrol for over 35 years with Rob. He was one of the first people to welcome me onto the patrol; with his usual warmth, good humor and passion for life.
Over the years we shared hundreds of conversations - on the chairlift, in the top shack, over lunch, during an accident scene, just skiing or at the end of a long day. I will miss him greatly. What a great guy, he was unique in his strength, his observations on the world and his gentle nature.
What a great story and tribute to Rob! Brings me back to all the great UW-SP memories.My heart goes out to his famiy and friends in Alaska as well as his family in Wisconsin. I know he will be keeping vigil for Rorie, Ryan, Raina and Rich from heaven. Peace and love to you all.
My memories of Rob go back 50 years. I was crushed when I got the news of his unfortunate passing. All I can say is thank you Rob for being part of some of my fondest childhood memories I still ponder on today.
To Rorie, Raina and Ryan..my heart goes out to you. Rob will never be forgotten in my lifetime..I will miss him
Rorie,Raina and Ryan,
What an amazing story Rob's life tells. There is no doubt he has touched many, many lives and gave his own in service to a stranger. I pray that the very best memories of Rob carry you through such a difficult time. Ror, you are in my prayers and in my heart.
Celebrating a life well lived. We will cherish the memories forever.
Rorie, Raina & Ryan, I had the distict pleasure of Patrolling with Rob for the past 20 years. He was an amazing Man, Thoughtful, intelligent, hard-working and an inspiration to me personally. I know this is a tremendous loss for you, I hope you find a small comfort in knowing how many lives Rob touched. I will treasure my memories of him and his gentle lessons he passed on to me.
He will be missed terribly...
Dear Rorie and family,
We were so sorry to hear of Robs accident. Prayers for peace and comfort are being said for you.
Rob was the last person to have bindings put on long skis and one of the last that could still ski them. I'll miss his smile walking in my door. Jim Janssen
The world has lost a gentle, kind, thoughtful man. He and my husband, Don spent many years patrolling the mountain. Rob and Ryan were so kind to visit my husband when he was ill. I have great memories from years ago after Easter services at the top of the hill, going to the bottom on his sled with Ryan, Raina, Rorie, and me at the back. What a strong man. Please accept our prayers for your family.
I didn't know Rob but ...wow...I read his story in this guest book! He certainly left a powerful legacy, not only on the land of Alaska, but the many people who knew him....My thoughts and prayers are for those who knew him and will miss him so much...especially Rorie, my friend from long ago.
Rob allways had a Smile on his face.It was great working with him. He will be missed greatly. Joy & Drew Motsinger
Our prayers and condolences are with your family during this very tough time. Never met Rob but he sounds like he was a great man, husband and father. Sincerely Tom and Marcie Ferron
As I am currently out of state I cannot attend the memorial, but wish to pass on to Rob's family how much his compassion meant to me. We often spoke of my own father (whom Rob had known and had passed in an accident) and Rob always made me feel good, not worse, during these conversations. The last time I saw Rob was when he bought some furniture we were selling last Spring, we ended up chatting awhile and you could see the joy in his eyes when he spoke of family - especially you kids :)
You are missed and loved, Rob.
Rorie, Raina & Ryan
What a devistating loss to all that cherished him and his unwaining helping of others and that which his life was dedicated to. We at DOT will miss such an awe inspiring man and his loss will leave a whole in our hearts and the huge loss to the community. I truly hope that your hearts are being conforted by all the grand jestures and memories of this awesome man that gave himself to others unconditionally.
I am praying these memories will help comfort you in your time of grieving and thinking of him will energize you in this trying time.
Dear Rorie and family, I didn't know Rob personally but the fact that he was helping someone in need is testament of his character. I'm thinking about you and you're in my prayers.May you find comfort in your memories and strength in prayer.
One thing I'll miss will be Rob's stories about Denali. He had many amazing experiences in his life.
Fond memories of the ever-smiling Rob joining his family at Camp Denali during his free time. I'll never forget watching him play basketball in barefeet with Tim and Land in the gravel behind the Woodshed Restroom. One tough Alaskan! And sometimes even in the pouring rain after staff lunch. My heart joins the family in their grief and loss. My prayers are with you all. May God's presence and love surround you and hold you close.
What a great tribute, but it only skims the surface of a life well lived. My sympathy and love to Rorie, Raina and Ryan. Rorie- see you in July if not sooner. Love you -- Kitty
One of the nicest men I have ever met...I still tell stories of framing their house at 17 below zero and having a good time doing it...Rob always had a smile on his face!
We had a little celebration for Rob last night at Spencer beach on the island of Hawaii. About a dozen Girdwoodians and former Girdwoodians watched the sun set, ate good food, and told stories from our long associations with Rob at Alyeska and in our community. Julie Maxwell had made a lei from flowers grown in her garden, and we ended the evening by tossing the lei into the bay and watching it float away.
We will all miss him and are sorry we can't be in Girdood for the celebration on Saturday.
John and Denise Gallup
I remember the flower boxes that had been converted from avalanche control munitions... I remember fishing on Wonder Lake and Moose creek, I remember a bear of a guy cradling his kids, showing them the Mountain or how the controls worked on his grader....What a guy...what a family...Tears carry sadness but memories comfort....
It was a pleasure to work with such a nice man. Our prayers go out to your family at this very difficult time.
We have such great memories of you all at Wonder Lake. Rob will always be part of the "family" on the west end. With love, Phyllis (and Harry).