Nila Jean Hammerstrom, 66, of Belle Fourche died on March 11, 2020. She was the wife of Lynn Hammerstorm, a former Milbank banker.
A celebration of her life will take place Friday, March 20 at 3:00 pm at the Connection Church in Belle Fourche. Visitation and sharing of memories will be held Thursday, March 19 from 5 to 7 pm at Kline Funeral Chapel in Belle Fourche.
Nila was born January 23, 1954 in Tea, South Dakota. She was the daughter of Eppo and Agnes (Wheeldryer) Bartels. She went to Lennox High School until 1971. Nila was united in marriage June 12, 1971 to Lynn Hammerstrom, in Chancellor, SD. To this 48 year union two sons were born, Michael and Nathan. Nila resided in Tea until her marriage to Lynn. She loved to meet people and could talk to anyone. Early in her marriage Michael was born. She worked at a nursing home while Lynn worked at a hospital while he finished college. She moved with Lynn several times and when residing in Milbank, she found a career of love working with young kids with learning needs. She moved with Lynn to Rapid City and started working with kids in detention. She was able to get attached to them so as to motivate them to obtain their GED. Later some would approach her, hug her and thank her for sticking with them while they worked on their GED. A move to Deadwood, gave her an opportunity to begin a 22 years passion of helping kindergarten kids learn to read at West Elementary and Mountain View in Spearfish. She loved these little ones.
At this time, she developed Breast cancer and took chemo treatment and surgery. Always kept her positive attitude even when struggling with the side effects. Then for 20 years she was “healthy”. In 2010 she didn’t feel good and a trip to Mayo Clinic revealed a rare Neuroendocrine carcinoid cancer in her abdomen. Surgery was done immediately and she recovered, it seemed for about 6 years. Then she felt her breathing wasn’t right, so another trip revealed Breast cancer around her lower right bronchial tube restricting her breath and she took radiation infusion for 8 months. Nila left her much loved job to battle all of this.
She loved traveling with Lynn. Together they made three trips to Hawaii. Early in their married life they camped in tents with the kids and in a pop-up camper. They traveled to the Grand Canyon, to Rocky Mountain National Park, Tonto National Forest, Coronado National Forest, Alaska, Canada and Germany where their son was stationed, and also traveled to Charleston, Louisville and the Oregon coast. She loved hiking with Lynn. In November 2019 even though weakened by the growing cancer she traveled to Sedona. She was able in the warmth hike with Lynn for three days, slowly but she pushed to go. Upon return, she grew increasingly unable to walk outside much and in the last two months just became so weak she couldn’t walk at all outside. This really bothered her as she was used to being able to walk 3-4 miles every day. She couldn’t drive and she wanted to do that so badly.
On March 11, 2020 at 3:31 am she gave her last breath and moved on to be with Jesus. The last week Nila asked to visit with each grandchild, her sons and daughters-in-law, and asked directly if they knew Jesus. She wanted them to know him for Salvation and to be able to see them again. Her quiet testimony is her evidence of her Love for the “Little Ones” she spent so much time with.
She is survived by her husband; sons, Michael (Gayla) of Georgia, Nathan (Emily) of Sturgis; 7 Grandchildren, Kai and Cadon and their father, Michael, Andon, Noree, Dylan, Marin, Kennan and their father, Nathan; brothers, Lester (Louise) of Tea, SD and Martin Bartels of Sioux Falls and her sister, Loraine Bartels (Art) Harms of Chancellor, SD.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
God Bless a Loyal Servant, One Who Loved Life and Jesus!
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for gifts and donations.
An online guest book and video tribute is available at klinefuneralchapel.com