Sybil Christine Hamren, 90, of Roanoke, Va., went to be with her Lord Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. She was born in Tyler, Minn, Nov. 23, 1922 to J. Elmer and Emma (Jansen) Johnson, an only daughter between two brothers who still survive her. Sybil grew up in several small Minnesota and Iowa towns, graduating from high school in Lake Wilson, in 1940 as her class valedictorian. She graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, in 1944 with a major in music. While in college, she met Ed Hamren, the love of her life, when he was visiting a friend boarding at Sybil’s parents’ home in Lake Wilson, where he was teaching high school. Ed served in the Navy from 1942-46, after which they dated and then married on June 6, 1948. They raised their seven children in the small towns of Ceylon and North Branch, where Ed was the school superintendent and Sybil taught English and music. She also taught “musical kindergarten” through two generations of children in her home. She was active in her churches as choir director, organist, pianist and soloist, and loved serving the Lord. She began playing piano for church as a junior in high school, and later made sure her children practiced their piano lessons. After retirement from the school system, Ed and Sybil sold health products before moving to Greensboro, N.C., in 1983, where Ed worked in a daughter’s print shop; they opened a craft store, managed a storage facility and produced a successful knitting newsletter for many years.
In 2004, as Alzheimer’s began to take its toll, Ed and Sybil moved in with their son and daughter-in-law, Dane and Patrice Hamren in Troutville, Va., so Ed could have help in caring for Sybil. Four years later to the day, Ed passed away after suffering a stroke, and Sybil moved to Friendship Health and Rehab in Roanoke, where her sweet spirit was evident until her death from pneumonia. The family is so grateful to her wonderful caregivers at Friendship.
Preceding Sybil in death, along with her parents and spouse, were her son and daughter-in-law Craig and Tessie Hamren, son-in-law John Greenwood and sister-in-law Marteen Johnson.
Surviving are her brothers Merritt Johnson, of Minneapolis, and Newell (Mary) Johnson of St. Paul Park; her children Claudia (Al) Hulbert of Bend, Ore.; Dane (Patrice), of Troutville, Va.; Marina Greenwood, of Henderson, N.C.; Blair (Darlene), of West Liberty, Ohio; Erica Ellis of Greensboro, N.C.; and Judd (Tonya) of Raleigh, N.C.; 24 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and many cousins, nephews, and nieces.
Sybil had a life-long personal relationship with God, evident in her consistently positive attitude, her helpful spirit, and her kindness to everyone. She will be dearly missed.
A memorial service will be held at Faith Alliance Church, 7505 Barrens Rd., Roanoke, Va., Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. Sybil will be buried in Wright, Minn., with her husband at a later date. If you wish to make a donation in Sybil’s memory, please consider an Alzheimer’s research organization of your choice.