Ann Marie Hmelar
May 30, 1932-Nov. 18, 2020
Palo Alto, California
Ann Marie (Sheridan) Hmelar, aged 88, passed peacefully on November 18, 2020, at her home in Palo Alto, California, where she had lived for the last 42 years. She was born on May 30, 1932, in Cleveland, Ohio, the eldest daughter of Frank and Gertrude Sheridan. In 1954, she received a bachelor of science degree in nursing from St. John’s College (now part of the Breen School of Nursing at Ursuline College) in Cleveland.
She is survived by her seven children: Steve Hmelar (Hui “Debra” Cen) of Palo Alto, California; Frank Hmelar (Christine) of Palo Alto, California; Tim Hmelar (Monica) of Palo Alto, California; Anni Hmelar (Muralidhran Nadarajah) of Durham, North Carolina; Lisa Hmelar of Palo Alto, California; Michael Hmelar (Marion) of Palo Alto, California; and Sue Hmelar Queisser (Andrew Queisser) of Corvallis, Oregon. She is also survived by fourteen grandchildren: Christopher, Ashley, Marissa, Justin, Emma, Fe, Amanda, Isabel, Seattle, Thomas, Gracia, Olivia, Cody, and Natalie. She was predeceased by her husband of 54 years, Stephen Louis Hmelar, Sr., and her granddaughter Katelyn.
Ann Marie took great pride in raising her family. She listened attentively to learn about each child and grandchild. She offered up loving advice, far too many human biology and anatomy lessons, and the best hugs ever. An avid world traveller, she also passed on a keen interest in other people and cultures.
Ann Marie was a joyous, kind, and loving woman who brought deep curiosity and a healing touch to almost every encounter. Her circle of loved ones extended well beyond her immediate family and included “the adopteds”—the young men and women, mostly from the East Coast, who were friends of her children. An adopted would come for a short visit to California and end up living—sometimes for years—in her Palo Alto home. The space Ann Marie (and her beloved, Steve) created for these young people further exemplified a generosity and acceptance that could be transformative.
In addition to her devotion to family, she had tremendous passion and energy for her role as an RN, as a nurse educator, and in service to public health. In clinical settings, her work took her to hospital wards in Cleveland; an in-service department in Wellesley, Massachusetts; classrooms and clinics in Framingham and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she taught LVN students; and finally to the Neurosurgery Department at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. There, with great clarity of purpose and compassion, she advocated frequently for patients and their families after a challenging diagnosis or catastrophic injury. In the 1960s, in Williamsville, New York, Ann Marie ran the Red Cross blood mobile and taught marriage prep and sex education to young women from the Catholic church. She was also greatly instrumental in getting land donated and funds raised for the construction of Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo, New York.
At her 50th school reunion, Ann Marie was recognized for all she had done to advance the profession of nursing. That distinction surprised, delighted, and moved her.