Frederick "Fred" L. Ham

Born: Tue., Nov. 28, 1933
Died: Wed., Jan. 10, 2018


2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Sun., Jan. 21, 2018
Location: Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center

Funeral Service

1:00 PM Mon., Jan. 22, 2018
Location: Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center

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Frederick L. Ham, was called to be with his Lord and Savior, on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.  Fred was born at home on November 28, 1933, in Paoli, Indiana, to Margaret Lucille (Osborne) and Grant Lincoln Ham.  It was an unusually warm winter day; the open windows allowing the smell of late fall to enter the newly built family home constructed by the skilled carpenter hands of his father and grandfather.  

Fred had a happy childhood, enjoying the attention and upbringing of his lovely parents and adoring older siblings, George, Grace, and Oliver.  Growing up in a small town in southern Indiana, life was carefree and lived to the fullest.  Stories told of his youth centered around the following: time spent with his family going to church; celebrating family birthdays; enjoying the traditions of special holidays with loved ones during Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas; traveling to see the sights and hear the sounds of America; going to the five-cent movie house in town with a hand full of rocks (just in case they were needed); and of course, going to see the local high school rivals play basketball.

Raised a Quaker, he was most proud of his family’s contributions to the church and local history.  Fred’s great grandfather, Moses F. Ham, donated acreage for the building of a local church and cemetery in Paoli, Indiana, named Ames Chapel, which still stands to this day.  He was also proud of his family’s effort and participation in the American Revolution, defending the Union cause during the Civil War, and aiding with the Underground Railroad.

After graduating from Paoli High School in 1951, he set his mind on joining the Air Force.  On March 15, 1953, he entered the United States Air Force.  He attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.  After completion of basic training, he was then stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, receiving communication and facsimile training, which then led to a desire to attend Instructor’s school.  He became a Master Staff Sergeant and taught teletype and facsimile.  From 1955-1957, he was stationed in Morocco during the Korean War, where he saw live action.  During one of his military leaves overseas, he visited the Vatican City and Florence in Italy, developing an even deeper love and passion for history.  On January 24, 1957, he was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force.

Fred’s love of history as a child and fulfilling experience as being an instructor while in the military led him to pursue the study of education as a profession after being discharged.  He applied to and was accepted to Butler University in Indiana and the University of Denver in Colorado.  He decided on Butler University because he desired a more intimate educational experience.  Butler University would become his new place of learning and propel him into the next phase of his life, forever changing it.

In the fall of 1957, Fred attended Butler University to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in education, with a specialization in history.  Thoughts of joining a fraternity entered his mind, but because of his time in the military he decided he wouldn’t fit in due to his age.  Fred’s focus was to work hard and do well in school.  He put himself through Butler using the GI Veterans Assistance Act of 1952 and holding a job, while being enrolled as a full-time student.  Every month while at Butler, Fred had to visit the Registrar’s office to sign for his monthly tuition assistance.  In 1959, a young, attractive, and intelligent woman by the name of Calva Jean Hawes was hired as a new secretary in the Registrar’s Office.  By late 1960, this newly hired secretary would be promoted to the position of Veterans Secretary in the Registrar’s Office and would catch Fred’s eye.  In May 1961, Fred graduated from Butler with his undergraduate degree, accepting a job in the illustrious school district of Perry Township.  However, thoughts of the beautiful, blue-eyed gal in the purple sweater with the sweet and lovely disposition, that would melt any heart, couldn’t escape his mind.  He went back to Butler to talk to Mrs. Ezzell who ran the dorm he had lived in to see if she could arrange a chance meeting with Calva Jean.  On October 19, 1961, Fred and Jean had their first date at the Tee Pee located by the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  In November, Fred would propose to Calva Jean.  By December, Calva Jean would have an engagement ring, with a wedding that followed on June 3, 1962.  The whirlwind romance led to over a fifty-five-year love story.

Having accepted a job in 1961, in the most sought out school district by educators in the state, Perry Township, Fred would find happiness teaching sixth graders at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.  During his time as a teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary, he furthered his studies at Butler at the invitation of a former professor who offered him a Lilly Endowment scholarship to receive his Master of Science degree in educational administration.  However, his heart would remain in the classroom.  In 1969, a highly regarded administrator in the district invited him to join the staff of Perry East.  The following year, the same administrator asked Fred to join the staff of the newly constructed Meridian Middle School, to teach seventh grade Social Studies.  This would become his home for the remaining years of his career until his retirement in 1995.  Fred served the students and patrons of Perry Township as an educator for a total of thirty-seven years.

Always passionate about teaching, Fred took pride in forming close bonds with his students and cohorts.  He believed in showing compassion and respect to and for his students and cohorts.  Even until his passing, he stayed in touch with former students and cohorts, friendships that would last a lifetime and be woven into the generation of his own children.  He loved every minute as a teacher in Perry Township and always gave it his all, walking in every morning proud as peacock in his three-piece suit and tie, with his pocket watch in tow, and a new project planned to challenge the intellect of his students.  Fred and Calva believed in the strength of the educational programming in Perry Township so much that their own children attended Perry schools.

After retirement from teaching in Perry Township, Fred continued to pursue his passion of teaching.  A close family friend, invited Fred to tutor and work with University of Indianapolis students on their studies.  This came at a pivotal point after retirement that filled the void and love of teaching and working with youth.  Again, strong relationships were formed with his students and cohorts.

His next venture would be the opportunity to enjoy his love of history and the workings of government by becoming a legislative proofreader for the Indiana State House of Representatives.  This led to an invitation to become the Greeter for the Indiana State House of Representatives, which he did until two years ago.  While at the State House, Fred crossed paths with many former students working in different capacities, which filled his heart.  In addition, Fred was never too old to make a new friend, and until his passing stayed in touch with the cohorts who had become close personal friends while working at the State House.

Fred participated and was active in church, community, and professional organizations, as well as supported the activities of his children.  He was a member of Christ United Methodist Church and later North United Methodist Church.  At church he taught Sunday school, organized shut-in visits for the elderly, and helped to start a program to feed the homeless.  He was a member of the Beech Grove chapter of the American Legion.  While teaching in Perry Township he served as Social Studies Chair, Perry Education Association Building Representative, Discussion Team Member, as well as Negotiations Team Member.  Professionally, he was a member of the following organizations:  Phi Delta Kappa, National Education Association, Indiana State Teachers Association, and Perry Education Association.   As a parent he was a Boy Scout troop leader, Perry Township Youth Basketball coach, Southport Little League baseball and softball coach, and a member of the Perry Meridian Dads’ Club.

In addition, Fred had many pastimes that brought him great joy and happiness.  As he and Calva’s kids were growing up, they traveled the country as a family every summer for two weeks, visiting America’s national parks and historic sites.  Two of the family’s favorite trips were a trip out west to Yellowstone National Park and a trip out east during our nation’s Bicentennial celebration.  Fred was also an avid reader of anything history, having read thousands of books on history, whether it be on Queen Victoria, Churchill, Lincoln, and his most recent reads Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, the stories on the pages came alive to Fred.  His favorite place to read was the on the screened back porch of his home from early Spring through late Fall.  There, he could read and keep an eye on the new neighbor’s dog, Addie.  Fred loved all the family pets, but his favorite was his loyal cat Scotch of twenty-one years, that cat went everywhere he did and would sit in his lap for hours at a time.  He loved gardening and manicuring the lawn meticulously.  Anything that was a hobby of his kids always became one of his too, such as: driving in sub-zero temperatures through inches of snow to see the Atlanta Falcons play in Cleveland, Ohio, with seats in the famous, but not so friendly “dog-pound”; spending a hot humid Labor Day in Auburn, Indiana, at the Auburn Class Car Festival taking in the beauty of old classic cars; or loading up with his wife and daughter for a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee, to hear the tunes of Olivia Newton-John, only to be stuck in the car in the sweltering heat and sun because there were only two tickets available for entry into the fairgrounds under the shade of the awning.  In recent years, he retreated to more docile activities like going to see Butler University play in the NCAA finals in Indianapolis.  Having been a fan of the big screen in his youth, he had stumbled across an advertisement a few years ago in the newspaper about an old historic theater in Franklin, Indiana, that showed black and white movies, as well as old classics.  That theater, the Historic Artcraft Theatre, became a family affair on Saturday nights once a month.  However, for the last two decades, his favorite pastime became the happenings, activities, and milestones that centered around his four grandchildren, Calvin, Shelby, Olivia, and Noah.  Whether it be setting up the slippy slide in the backyard, going on a fishing trip to Eagle Creek, taking a trip to the zoo, visiting the Children’s Museum, driving to Lafayette to see a baseball game, packing up the car for a straight drive through to Georgia to attend a basketball game or Grandparents Day, attending a Chucky Cheese birthday party, riding bikes to the local Dairy Queen or Douglas MacArthur Elementary, or taking the grandkids to a Butler basketball game, only to have his oldest grandkid finish his uneaten hotdog when he wasn’t looking, nothing was too impossible to accomplish when it came to those grandkids.  His last venture out of the house with the grandkids was a trip this past summer to Hinkle Fieldhouse, the place where it all began.  A memory sealed in the hearts and minds of our family.

Fred loved living and loved the life he had been afforded.  He gave his heart and soul to the Lord as a young boy, served the country he so loved, found the love of his life on his journey to fulfil his dream to become a teacher at the university he loved, acquired a teaching job in a prestigious school district where he formed lifelong friendships with cohorts and students that he loved, found time to love those in need, and found love and joy in his children and grandchildren and all that they did.  Fred was a modest man, sometimes thinking he was undeserving of the compliments he received.  He always put the needs of his family above his own.  A man adored by his family, friends, and students.

The last two years of his life were not easy, but he persevered with dignity, never questioning his faith in the Lord, living each moment to the fullest as he continued to make new memories.  To the man we all loved, either as a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, cohort, or student, we bid you adieu, until we meet again.  It is not good-bye, but rather see you later.

Fred is survived by the following family members: the love of his life, his wife, Calva Jean (Hawes) Ham; daughter, Lori J. Ham; son, Stephen L. Ham; son and daughter-in-law, Christopher L. Ham and Jill M. Ham, and their children, Calvin B. Ham, Shelby L. Ham, Olivia J. Ham, and Noah C. Ham; sister, Grace (Ham) Sherman; and many wonderful and lovely nieces and nephews, as well as their fine children.

Fred is preceded in death by the following family members: mother, Margaret Lucille (Osborne) Ham; father, Grant Lincoln Ham; brother, George Ham (Jessie); brother, Oliver Ham (Eileen).

The family would like to thank the following people and organizations: Mr. Shan Rutherford, retired pastor Greenwood Christian Church, current pastor of Samaria Christian Church; Toney Edwards and Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center (; medical specialists of the St. Vincent Group; medical specialists of Franciscan Hospital south campus; medical specialists of the VA Health Centers of Indianapolis and Martinsville; the paramedics and firefighters of Station #26; and the fine people of Americare Home Health, who Fred considered family.  As well, we would like to thank extended family and friends for their friendship, love, prayers, and support over the years, especially during Fred’s extended illness and passing.  In closing, we give all glory to God for the wonderful gift of Fred in our lives.

Services will be 1:00 p.m. Monday, January 22, 2018 at Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center. Visitation will be Sunday January 21, from 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. and one hour prior to service time at the mortuary.

Anyone wishing to make a charitable contribution in honor of Frederick L. Ham may make those to the following organizations: Butler University (; The American Legion (; or Wreaths Across America (

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Mr. & Mrs. James Stainbrook
   Posted Mon January 15, 2018
Thoughts and prayers for the entire family. Lori, your dad was indeed a fine man whom I admired. It was then a pleasure and a privilege to be associated with him in Perry Township. Condolences to your mom, the other half of a unique team.

Connie E. Connely
   Posted Mon January 15, 2018
I met Fred for the first time last summer. His daughter, Lori, told us about some of the family's educational vacations. He was a blessing to his family, a real family man. I know his students were lucky to have him as their teacher.

Darren Wells
   Posted Wed January 17, 2018
I am so sorry to hear of Fred's passing (Mr. Ham to me) and very moved by the touching obituary. I was fortunate enough to be a student of his at Meridian Middle School in the mid 80's and a friend of his two sons, Steve and Chris, growing up. Although I have lost touch with much of the family over the years, I still know that Mr. Ham was truly a remarkable man, teacher, father, husband, and patriot. You have touched so many lives and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Ham family.

Jack and Peggy Pierson
   Posted Sun January 21, 2018
We are so sorry for you loss. We are praying for your whole family. He was a great man. and teacher and dad. I know you have great memories. Jack and Peggy Pierson

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