Louis M. Hamel

1917 - 1989

Louis Hamel, a brass player and accomplished trombonist, taught music in two high schools in Wisconsin before becoming a businessman and working for the state of Wisconsin.

Hamel was the oldest of four sons born to Irene Flentie and Mahlon (M.G.) Hamel. He was raised in a musical family in which both parents were involved in music, the father as a band director and the mother as a talented amateur musician who played both organ and accordion. All of the children were given music instruction from an early age and three of his sons - Louis, Paul, and Lyle -would enjoy careers in music.

Louis enjoyed playing the brass instruments and became very proficient on trombone. Shortly after he completed a music degree at the University of Wisconsin, the U.S. became involved in World War II. Because he had a degree. had become a licensed pilot in his teenage years, and enlisted in the Air Force on March 17, 1941, he was classified as a teacher and became a flight instructor for the duration of the war. When the war ended, he became a band director in Wisconsin and, serving eventually in two different schools, in the communities of Minocqua and Reedsburg. He also completed a master's degree at Vandercook College of Music.

Hamel then became a businessman, running a hardware store in Reedsburg. After later selling the business, he worked for the state of Wisconsin as an inspector of nursing homes until his retirement. He retired to Elsa, Texas, a small community near McAllen, just north of the border with Mexico, where he died in 1989, at age 72.

His son, James, would be the only Hamel in the next generation to pursue a career in music. A band director who teaches in Texas, his band while he was at a high school in Brownsville, Texas, was selected to perform in the famous Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California


Sources: Interviews/conversations with Lyle and Paul Hamel, March and April 2010; 1930 Census and Social Security Records; U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records. Scott Ball