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Madalyn's Story

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Madalyn Hammer, 93, of Athens, Texas, passed away on April 8, 2016. She declared that she had a long, good and interesting life but it was time to join her beloved husband, Jack, in the hereafter which she proceeded to do.
Mary Madalyn Blankenship was born during the Great Depression on February 6, 1923 in Dallas, Texas, to Gladys Chumbley Blankenship, a homemaker, and Lester Benjamin Blankenship, a Dallas Fireman. On July 14, 1927, a little sister, Bettye Ruth Blankenship, was added to the family.
Madalyn attended secretarial school after her graduation from Sunset High in Dallas. She married Joseph Healey Mahoney during the WWII years and had a son, Joe Mahoney in 1944. Madalyn subsequently divorced and secured a job at WFAA radio as receptionist and switchboard operator. Over the next few years, she advanced to become an executive secretary and worked in both radio and television at Dallas stations WFAA and KLIF. She made many lifelong friends and enjoyed meeting celebrities such as Fats Domino, Charlton Heston, Nat King Cole, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Jimmy Durante, John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Audie Murphy, and Elizabeth Taylor just to mention a few. Her favorite, however, was Gregory Peck.
Madalyn was a charter member of the exclusive professional organization, Executive Secretaries of Dallas, now Executive Women International. She was elected President of the organization in 1956. She married the love of her life, William J. (Jack) Hammer in 1961, a Dallas Fireman like her father. After Jack's retirement from the Fire Department, he and Madalyn established a successful business, Lavastone International in Houston. They sold the business in 1985 and fulfilled a lifelong dream of living at the lake. They moved to Star Harbor, Texas where Madalyn was an active member of the Garden and Book Clubs. She and Jack spent the next 20 years traveling the world and, as she said, "making memories". They visited over 79 countries and all 50 states.
Madalyn is preceded in death by her parents, her sister and her darling, Jack, who passed away in 2008.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Joe and Ruth Mahoney of Athens; nephews, Craig Corley of Athens and Steven Corley of Duncanville; and great nieces, Kelly Corley of Austin, and Leighanne Corley of Maud, Texas, and dear friends, Sonja Baker Camp and Sandy Shirey of Malakoff.
There will be a gathering for friends and family on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Hannigan-Smith Funeral Home from 6-7:30 P.M., to honor and celebrate Madalyn's life. The family has asked that memorials be sent to the Dallas Firefighters Museum, c/o Captain Rhett Blankenship, 3801 Perry Ave., Dallas, TX 75226.
You may light a candle or write condolences to the family at: www.hannigansmith.com
Published on April 12, 2016
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