Helen Llewellyn Hammer, 98, of Clinton, died on Jan. 7, 2021, at NHC in Oak Ridge. The family will hold private graveside services Wednesday, Jan. 13, at Andersonville Cemetery.
The matriarch of the Hammer family and the Hammer’s Dry Goods stores in Tennessee and Alabama grew up in Knox County. She met A.B. “Bernard” Hammer Jr. as a student at Farragut High School. After a time at UT, they married and moved to Guntersville, Alabama, where the original Hammer’s Department Store was operated by his family.
As her obituary relates, Helen and Bernard came to Clinton in May1952 to stay for a week in order to close out a small store on Market Street that was in bankruptcy. Business was so good, however, that they sent back to Guntersville to get more merchandise. That original one week stay became a lifetime.
Helen remained very active in the store throughout the last 68 years as she was featured in the store’s television and radio ads, never missed a buying trip or trade show, and worked every day in the office performing the bookkeeping duties of the company. Over time, she and Bernard introduced the business to their children and grandchildren. The company expanded as family members branched out to launch new stores.
Mrs. Hammer was active in the community, serving as president of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and on the board of Third National Bank. She was a true business pioneer whose legacy lives in her stores and her family. Additional obituary information is here.