Sally Jane Hammel

Date of Birth

November 2, 1953

Date of Death

January 25, 2020

With deep sadness, we announce the passing of Sally Jane Hammel, beloved sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and dear friend of countless people in Santa Barbara, the Lake Tahoe area, and beyond. During the last six months of her life, Sally determinedly fought an aggressive form of cancer, then died at Renown Hospital in Reno with her siblings surrounding her, prayers and songs accompanying her.

Born in St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara to parents Melvin C. Hammel and Rita Doreen (Hay) Hammel, Sally was the third of four children, tracing her ancestry to the local Santa Ynez Band of the Chumash and to Scotland. She attended Franklin School, Cleveland School, Santa Barbara Junior High School and High School, and Santa Barbara City College, later going back to college and proudly graduating from Sierra Nevada College with her BA degree in 2015. As a young adult, she lived on Oahu for several years before settling on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, returning often to Santa Barbara and to Helendale, CA to be with family and friends. She worked for the U.S. Postal Service for many years, singing as she carried mail in Sacramento and happily greeting customers at the Carnelian Bay Post Office. In March of 1987, Sally married Mark Glass, a Sacramento lobbyist, but he tragically died of a heart attack eight months later. She never remarried and, after a long period of grieving, learned to revel in being an independent woman.

It was as an accomplished singer and thespian that Sally was best known in the Tahoe area, singing in church and community choirs and acting in local productions. Twice, she toured European cities, singing in some of the great cathedrals, with The Orchestra and Community Choral Artists of the Tahoe Area (TOCCATA). She loved traveling and did so extensively, instantly making friends because of her exuberant personality. She was a devoted member of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Incline Village, considering its members to be part of her large extended family. While attending Sierra Nevada College, she discovered the art of ceramics and became a fine potter, gifting family and friends with sometimes lovely, sometimes humorous pieces.

Sally loved life, living it to the brim, leaving us too soon. We, her siblings, Susanne Hammel-Sawyer (Benjamin) of Goleta, Thomas (Judy) Hammel of Shady Cove, OR, and Trudy (John) Bilodeau of Helendale, CA, her aunt Dorothy Sierra of Santa Ynez, her seven nieces and nephews and their families, who knew her as Auntie Silly Sally, Cameron (Sybille) Tummel of Oxnard, Jeremy (Alexandra) Tummel of Santa Barbara, Adam (Amanda)Hammel of Cottage Grove, OR, Melissa (Michael) Westfall of Medford, OR, Gwendolyn (Jeff Nighman) Kilfoyle of Santa Barbara, Joseph (Ashley) Kilfoyle of Simi Valley, and Elizabeth Ceballes of Chandler, AZ, cousins in California and in Canada, long-time friend Don Stone, and many friends who loved her dearly, mourn her loss and give thanks for her vibrant life among us.

A service will be held at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Incline Village, NV at 2:00 pm, on Sunday, March 29, and a Celebration of Life will be held in Santa Barbara at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center or to an animal shelter of your choice.


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