Janet Claire Hamerman

January 13, 1949 - April 16, 2011
Janet Claire Hamerman


Janet Hamerman died at the age of 62 after a valiant three month battle with metastatic breast cancer.

As a teacher she would take the most important person in a parent’s life into her classroom as a kindergarten student. Parents, often, would entrust her with their children’s first school experience, and she strove to make that experience both joyful and exciting.

Janet lamented the process, data driven forces that were so obsessed with assessment and accountability that they literally transformed kindergarten from a garden of delight into a place of stress and distress for teacher and student alike. Despite this, she worked within that framework to create an environment where the learner operated within a social matrix that reflected purposeful accomplishments and the joyous satisfaction that they often bring. She designed her own board games and worksheets so as to meet the mandated curriculum, but never losing sight of the fact that young children learn best through experience, social interactions, and play; not by sitting up straight and tall and listening to root lessons.

From 1971 to 1977 Jan was a teacher at Garfield Avenue School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During that time she was promoted to curriculum coordinator for a newly created magnet school. She also directed in-service training, wrote curriculum guides, and worked to develop polices, programs, and procedures. During this time she also led workshops for elementary teachers and educators for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the International Center for Educational Development. She was offered a position on the administrated staff for the Milwaukee School District, but she had to decline due to her forthcoming marriage, to Gilbert Hamerman, and relocation to Chicago. She remained a teacher in the class room till February 4, 2011 when she was forced to take a leave of absence due to her cancer.

As an author she wrote sections of Language: Skills and Uses for the Scott Foresman Company, along with various other textbooks and worksheets. In the early 1990’s she founded J & J Kids Stuff, a company that produced innovative books and learning aids aimed at young children.

As an artist and entrepreneur Janet was starting up, at the time of her death, a company that produced designer quality purses and handbags from 100% recycled everyday products like grocery bags. Since each bag used all recycled materials, each one was a handmade limited edition or a one-of-a-kind original.

Janet Clare Hamerman was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 13, 1949, the daughter of a draftsman who worked for Master Lock Company. Janet was the younger of two siblings, a brother, David, survives her. She attended Marshall High School and won the prestigious Marshall award, but chose to attend University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to save her parents money, where she received degrees in Early Childhood Education and Fine Arts with an emphasis in art history.

Janet Hamerman died on April 16, 2011. She married, in 1977, Gilbert Hamerman, who survives her. She had a single child, Jeremy, who also survives her.

A memorial service will be held at 4 PM Thursday, May 5th, 2011 at Temple of Israel, 4th and Market, in Wilmington, NC.

The family will receive friends from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM Thursday at 918 Spicebush Dr., Winnabow, NC.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Alliance for Childhood, P.O. Box 444
College Park, MD 20741. Online at: http://www.allianceforchildhood.org

Please share memories and condolences with the family at wilmingtoncares.com

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403; (910)-791-9099


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  • May 08, 2011
    Nancy Cox says:
    Dear Gil and Jeremy, You were so lucky to have had such a wonderful woman as your wife and mother. I was lucky to have had her as a colleague for a short while at Wrightsboro, in fact, I sat on the committee that interviewed her when she first came to the school. She came with her incredible portfolio of accomplishments that impressed me so much! Our Wrightsboro children were so privileged to have had her as their teacher. It is sad that she didn't get to realize her business dream, because her handbags were so beautiful! I'm sure she would have been as successful at that as she was in the classroom. You both will remain in my thoughts and prayers. We will all miss her!

  • April 18, 2011
    Rose Mize says:
    Mrs. Hamerman, Our family is so sadden about your passing. You were both Tyler M and Lilly M teacher and they loved you to pieces! We are so blessed to have you impact our lives. Tyler and Lilly both send their condolences to your family during this very difficult time! May GOD rest your soul! Thanks again for being so wonderful! Love the Massey Family

  • April 21, 2011
    Pat Batleman says:
    A lively spirit, amazingly creative, fun-loving, a hard worker. These are just some of the many characteristics Jan possessed. We had lots of wonderful times exploring our new "home town". Every day, I remember something we did together. I have no doubt she is floating among the stars, her soul the source of a new sparkle in the sky.