Irmgard Elizabeth Rister Hamner

by Lynn McMillen
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Irmgard Elizabeth Rister Hamner, 86, of Morgan City, AL, passed away at home in the early morning hours of June 5, 2024, after a long illness. Irmgard (“Irmie” to her family and her many friends) was born along with her twin brother, Heinz Rister, on February 10, 1938, in Husum, Germany to the late Hans and Sophie Rister. After the end of World War II in 1945, Hans was invited by the U.S. Army to transfer to this country as part of Project Paperclip, temporarily leaving Sophie, Heinz, and Irmie in Germany with the other Paperclip scientists’ families. In 1946, the family emigrated to the United States. They were first posted at Wright-Patterson AFB, near Dayton, OH, and eventually settled in Manchester, TN, in July of 1953. After attending Central High School in Manchester, Irmie graduated St. Thomas School of Nursing in 1959 and became a registered nurse— by all accounts an excellent one— eventually retiring in 1994.

On February 19, 1961, she married her husband and partner in life, Roger Lee Hamner, in Manchester at First Methodist Church. The couple first resided in Manchester, and with a short detour in Auburn, Alabama, and settled in Huntsville, Alabama on April Fool’s Day, 1963. During the span of the 1960s, Irmie had four children with Roger, all of whom thought the world of her: First Christopher, followed by Jennifer, Angela, and finally Cully. Eventually, in 1975, the family moved just outside Huntsville to Morgan City, Alabama, where Irmie lived out her years as a loving “Mama,” “Mom,” and “Nana” to an extended family that included sons-in-law and grandchildren who also adored her, with her beloved Roger by her side.

She is survived by her soulmate, Roger Lee Hamner; sister-in-law, Pat Rister of Virginia Beach, VA; son, Christopher A. Hamner of Huntsville, AL; daughter, Jennifer Lee Hamner Edwards and husband, Eric, of Madison, AL; daughter, Angela Holt and husband, Bryan, of Morgan City, AL; son, Cully Hamner and partner, Alisa Perren, of Austin, TX; and grandchildren, Meaghan Holt, Erin Holt, Taylor Holt, Austin Edwards, and Carson Edwards. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers, Gunther Rister and Heinz Rister.

Visitation will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, June 8, 2024, at Laughlin Service Funeral Home. The funeral service will follow at 3:00 p.m. with Rev. Dr. Tara Bulger, Sr. Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, officiating. There will be a private family burial service at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made in honor of Irmie’s life to the Amedisys Hospice at 725 Beltline Rd., Ste. D, Decatur, AL 35601.

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