Cover photo for Blanche Hamaker's Obituary
Blanche Hamaker Profile Photo
1918 Blanche 2017

Blanche Hamaker

May 13, 1918 — October 5, 2017

Blanche Luella Hamaker, 99, of Oshkosh passed away Thursday evening, October 5, 2017 at the Regional West Garden County Nursing Home in Oshkosh.

Memorial Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, October 16, 2017 at the Lisco Presbyterian Church with Pastor Duane Dunwoody officiating. Inurnment will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Crawford Cemetery in Crawford.

Cremation has taken place and there will be no visitation.

Holechek Funeral Home and Cremations in Oshkosh is serving the Hamaker family.

Memorials are suggested to Regional West Garden County Foundation designated to the Nursing Home Activity Fund.

Blanche was born May 13, 1918 in Sioux County, Nebraska to Orpha (Wilson) and Fred Ellsworth. She was born in their farm house in the days when doctors made house calls!

When Blanche was five years old, the Ellsworth family moved to Fort Robinson where her dad worked as a civilian with the horses and barbered in the evenings. The school bus Blanche rode to Crawford in was a mule­ pulled wagon with seats on both sides and an opening at the back to get on and off. She attended the same school in Crawford all 12 years.

Blanche's parents later divorced. Her mother remarried after her three children were grown. The grandkids grew up knowing this grandfather as "Pappy".

Blanche married Bob Hamaker in 1937 at Crawford. It was through Bob that she got the nickname "Scottie" which many people called her. In 1942, they moved to Oakland, California, where Bob worked in the shipyards during World War II, living there just over a year.

After moving back to Nebraska, Bob worked for several ranches before being employed with Rush Creek Land and Livestock in 1951. The family first lived at the King Ranch near Angora, Nebraska. In 1953 Bob was made foreman of the Duer Ranch 9 miles west of Lisco. During branding and haying season, the wives worked as hard as the men, cooking three meals a day and cleaning, but there was always time for fun and laughter. More enjoyment took place during hunting season when hunters came from Eastern Nebraska and stayed at the river hunting shack on the Duer Ranch with many great feeds and card games with the hunters and their wives.

In 1965, Blanche and Bob bought the Hi-Way Cafe in Lisco. This became the hangout for pitch card games. It was the place to go for rolls and coffee on Sunday mornings after church. The rolls were a recipe from Blanche's stepfather, who was a baker. Out-of-towners always marveled at the way people were trusted to help themselves and make their own change! They operated the cafe until 1979.

There were many card games [usually canasta] with neighbors at the Hamaker's kitchen table. They often stayed up until dawn playing cards, and then would fix breakfast.

Bob and Blanche attended many dances at the Lisco Legion Hall and throughout the area. It was not uncommon for them to travel over a hundred miles to a square dance with other couples from the area regardless of weather.

As the Hamaker grandsons became old enough to hunt, they made many trips to Lisco with their friends and Terry to goose and duck hunt, staying at her place. In the evenings following supper, the cards always came out as it was time to play pitch. They all marveled at how much fun they had, how well she played and spoke about how she was on the winning end of many, if not most, of the games over the years.

Bob passed away in 1980. Blanche continued to live in the cafe they operated that had been converted into a comfortable home. She belonged to the LaKota Club and Birthday Club for years and enjoyed antiques, music, television, and was an avid bridge player belonging to several bridge clubs until recently. She loved music. One of her favorite artists was George Straight. Her newest favorite was Bobby Flores, playing his CD's over and over again. Someone once asked if she played an instrument. She answered, "Only the radio."

Blanche moved from her Lisco home to assisted living in Lewellen, Nebraska for about 2 years then to Mesa Vue apartments for about 5 years. Her last 3 months were in the Garden County Nursing Home in Oshkosh, Nebraska.

Blanche's family consisted of three children: Jolene, widow of Ron Contratto, living in Federal Way, Washington. Charlene passed away in 2010. She last lived in Scottsbluff. Blanche’s son Terry and wife Audra (Porter) live at Lake McConaughy. Blanche had six grandchildren; Tony (Tracie), Tim (Jan)and Sandy Contratto and Eric (Amy), Brant (Jackie), and Kevin Hamaker. She was also blessed with four great grandchildren: Bryan Stander and Luke, Nathan and Cole Hamaker.

Other survivors are 2 nieces; Naomi Galey of Whitney, Nebraska and Jackie Turner of Moses Lake, Washington and 3 nephews; Raymond, Butch and Pete Ellsworth of Lewiston, Idaho. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister, brother, daughter, Charlene, and son in law, Ron Contratto.

Our mother was a very loving, kind and gentle person. She was loved by her family, friends and community and will be greatly missed.
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