North High School Wall of Honor
Marion DeForrest Hammer
Class of June, 1931
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
Marion DeForrest Hammer

Marion graduated from North High School in June, 1931. His service number was 860-21-66. Marion's next of kin was listed as Mr. and Mrs. Forrest Edwin Hammer, 3219 5th Avenue, Des Moines, IA

Marion DeForrest Hammer
Year   Rank   Status
June, 1931   Graduated   Graduated from North High School, Des Moines, IA. He was in Home Room 255.
1931-1936 x x Employment. Mechanic; musician
April 12, 1936 x Family x Married Anna Ingalls Bussey; separated approximately 1943
August 25, 1940 x Family x Living in Des Moines, IA. Daughter born: Diane H. Hammer
1940 x x Lived at 3720 Hickman Road in Des Moines during 1940 census.
April 1, 1941-May 5, 1943 x Employment x Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (far north on 2nd Avenue) and retail Firestone Store at 10th and Walnut
May 3, 1944 x US Navy x Enlisted in Des Moines, IA
1944-46 x Training x At Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Musician
April 19, 1944 x US Navy x Choir Certificate. He was in Company 517 and a member of the Recruit Choir during training
June, 1945 x US Navy x Rank was Mus2c
January 5, 1946   US Navy x Discharged.
May 16, 1949 x Military Filing x US Navy military paperwork filed. Living at 4211 Sheridan Avenue, Des Moines.
bef October 29, 1972 x x Employment at Tutwiler Cadillac; Service/Parts Department
October 29, 1972 x Deceased x Indianapolis, IN
aft 10/29/72 x Burial x in Tennessee.
June, 1931; Des Moines Register & Tribune
4 Highland Park Youths have been Together 13 Years
Four Highland Park boys who entered kindergarten at Clarkson School 13 years ago and who have remained inseparable companions and schoolmates since that day will be graduated from North High School June 4. They are Arthur J. Chavannes, 945 37th Street, Raymond Couch, 710 Oak Park Avenue, Marion Hammer, 3219 5th Street, and Graydon McDonald, 3212 4th Street. Each is 17.

The boys plan to work a year or more before entering college and will endeavor to find employment at the same place, they say. It is their hope that all can enter the same institution of higher learning.

All are musicians. Arthur, Graydon, and Marion are members of the North High Band and orchestra, and Raymond sings in the Glee Club. In their spare moments, they can be found together, enjoying the same amusements.

Arthur, Graydon, Marion, and Raymond value greatly the friendship which has been their's since they met when embarking upon their first educational venture--kindergarten. They have pledged themselves never to violate the trust each has in the others. (The foursome also graduated from Warren Harding Junior High School in Highland Park.)
June, 1931: North High Band Threesome at Des Moines Capitol Grounds:
(l-r): Arthur J. Chavannes, Marion DeForrest Hammer, Graydon LeRoy McDonald
Graydon McDonald
& Marion Hammer w/coat!
1932: Johnnie's Band; Grand Island
Chavannes, McDonald, Hammer, Couch identified with rollovers
Marion with Doc Lawson Orchestra Doc Lawson Orchestra
Warren Lee Lawson was born in 1903 in Hedrick, IA, a graduate of Hedrick High School and the Ottumwa Conservatory of Music. He had his own band before and after his graduation from the University of Iowa. During the years following he played piano with many well known Iowa dance orchestras, with the Paramount theater stage band in Des Moines and was organist for the Paramount from 1929 until 1931. Later he reorganized his own dance orchestra and it had headquarters in Fort Dodge, Boone, and Faribault, Minnesota, before he moved to Marshalltown in 1939. By 1942, “Doc” had added an electric organ to the band and it proved so successful that he started playing solo engagements.This work developed into full time operations and “Doc” played in 37 states and Canada. In later years his engagements have included nearly every major Iowa horse show, at Miami, Florida, and the Dairy Cattle Congress in Waterloo. During World War II, he played with U.S.O. units for the entertainment of military personnel.
1942: Doc Lawson and His Orchestra, Des Moines, IA
Marion DeForrest Hammer
Great Lakes Training Center; 1944-1946
Circa 1944-1946: Blue Jackets Navy Band
Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL
Marion DeForrest Hammer, 1931 Class of North High, plays trombone, second row back next to drums
Click here for larger version
At one time, this band was directed by John Philip Sousa.
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Des Moines, IA
The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is an American tire company founded by Harvey Samuel Firestone in 1900 to supply pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles. The company was a pioneer in the mass production of tires. During World War II the company was called on by the U.S. Government to make artillery shells, aluminum kegs for food transport and rubberized military products. Firestone ranked 55th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[9] In the 1940s, Firestone was given a defense contract to produce plastic helmet liners. While outproduced by Westinghouse Electric they still made a fair amount for the M1 Helmet.

Great Lakes Naval Training Station; Great Lakes, IL

Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA Great Lakes) is the home of the United States Navy's only boot camp, located near North Chicago, in Lake County, Illinois. Important tenant commands include the Recruit Training Command, Training Support Center and Navy Recruiting District Chicago. Naval Station Great Lakes is the second largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training station in the Navy. The base has 1,153 buildings situated on 1,628 acres (6.59 km2) and has 50 miles (80 km) of roadway to provide access to the base's facilities. Within the naval service, it has several different nicknames, including "The Quarterdeck of the Navy", or the more derogatory "Great Mistakes".

The original 39 buildings built between 1905 and 1911 were designed by Jarvis Hunt.

The base is like a small city, with its own Fire Department, Naval Security Forces (Police), and Public Works Department.

One of the landmarks of the area is Building 1, also known as the clocktower building. Completed in 1911, the building is made of red brick, and has a tower over the third floor of the building. The large parade ground in front of the administration building is named Ross Field.

Obtain photo
Marion DeForrest Hammer
United States Navy
US Navy Seal

US Navy Insignia

US Navy Band Seal

US Navy Musician

Great Lakes Naval Station

US Navy Musician

Navy Occupation Service Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
(1) Information was obtained from the Records on Military Personnel Who Died, were Missing in Action, or Prisoners of War as a result of the Vietnam War. This document can be found online at the National Archives and Records Administration at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Marion DeForrest Hammer's 1931class page is:
Died: 10/29/72; Indianapolis, IN
Music: "Anchors Aweigh"
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Marion DeForrest Hammer Graydon LeRoy McDonald Arthur J. Chavannes Raymond Coach Chavannes Graydon McDonald Ray Couch Marion Hammer Played saxophone