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Karl Hammerstrom

Oct 14, 1941 - Oct 11, 2017
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 Karl Stanley Hammerstrom, 75, passed away on October 11, 2017 at Garden Village after a long battle with dementia. Karl was born in Seattle, WA on October 14, 1941 to Ethel and Stan Hammerstrom. He was raised and received his education in Ballard, WA.

 
After highschool, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Illinois where he met his first wife, Linda Pendleton (nee Wilson), married, and relocated back to Seattle and McChord AFB. He served during the Vietnam War repairing planes as an air fuel systems maintenance mechanic in England, and came home in 1969. After serving he worked as a letter carrier in Seattle and had 2 daughters and a son. Around 1977 he moved to Ellensburg, WA to work as a farmer in the Kittitas Valley, and did so for many years. During those years he also remarried and had a son, all while restoring antique tractors and being a founding member of the Kittitas Valley Early Iron Club and Threshing Bee. He then got a job with the railroad which he enjoyed but took a toll on him physically. At that point he moved to Yakima, enrolled at Perry Tech and became a machinist. He worked as a machinist for a few years, then retired due to an injury.
 
Growing up near Seattle, Stan would take Karl and his brother Steve to the Sears store. It was during these trips that Karl would develop his love of the railroad, more specifically steam locomotives and the Northern Pacific Railway. He expressed that love in a couple ways, firstly he became an incredibly skilled modeler, building hundreds of high end railroad, military and classic car models over the years. He was also a lifetime member of the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish, WA, and played a pivotal role in many of their biggest projects, including bringing the NP steam locomotive #1364 to Toppenish and rebuilding the entire cab from original blueprints. His work modeling the Northern Pacific Railway is on display inside the museum as well.
 
Karl is survived by his children Kari Vodder, Kristin Wood Harwell, Matthew Hammerstrom, and Daniel Hammerstrom, three grandchildren: Dara Vodder, Will Vodder, and Bellagrace Wood. Karl is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Steven Hammerstrom.
 
No public services are planned at this time. 
 

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