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Obits > Tammy Lynn Elmendorf

Posted online: June 7, 2005 11:28 PM Print publication date: June 8, 2005 http://qconline.com/archives/qco/sections.cgi?prcss=display&id=245124

Tampico boy orphaned after mother drowns in river
By Kristina Gleeson, kgleeson@qconline.com

A 7-year-old Tampico boy lost his mother Monday to Minnesota's Kettle River, less than two years after his father died after a long illness.

Hunter Orion Elmendorf was camping in eastern Minnesota with his mother, Tammy Lynn Elmendorf, 32, and her fiance, Mark Werner of Indiana, when he slipped into the Kettle River, according to the Pine County Sheriff's Department.

Ms. Elmendorf and Mr. Werner went into the river in response to Hunter's calls for help, authorities said. Ms. Elmendorf was struggling with Hunter, so Mr. Werner took him from her and got him to safety. When Mr. Werner turned around, Ms. Elmendorf was gone, The Associated Press reported. The incident happened about 4 p.m. Authorities recovered Ms. Elmendorf's body about 9:30 p.m., according to the AP.

The Ramsey County medical examiner's office was scheduled to perform an autopsy in coming days. Pine County sheriff's deputies could not be reached for comment.

Hunter's father, Bryan Elmendorf, of rural Prophetstown, died Aug. 17, 2003, at the age of 31.

Ms. Elmendorf was working at Tampico's Dutch Diner as a waitress and cook. Diner co-owner Terry Adamson said Tuesday evening he thought Hunter's paternal grandparents, Gary and Katherine Elmendorf of Prophetstown, had gone to Minnesota to get him. Mr. Adamson's wife, Beverly, who is the diner's co-owner, said Ms. Elmendorf started working there so Hunter could be close to his paternal grandparents. She said Ms. Elmendorf planned on quitting work so she could spend the summer with her son. Hunter's father was an outdoorsman, who often took his family camping, Mrs. Adamson said. "This was a dream of hers to be camping and out enjoying wildlife," she said. "She wanted to teach her son the things her husband had taught her." Ms. Elmendorf was working on pursuing her dreams, Mrs. Adamson added. "She was interested in the outdoor world," she said. "She wanted to do some rehabbing, some working with animals."

Last month, Ms. Elmendorf went to Indiana to raise money to save a group of 20-30 horses. "That was kind of what she was excited about doing this summer," Mrs. Adamson said.

WQAD - Channel 8 Tampico, IL-
Chris Minor Reports
Tampico Mom Drowns Trying To Save Son
http://www.wqad.com/global/story.asp?s=3449729&ClientType=Printable Tampico, IL-

A mother from Tampico drowned while trying to rescue her 7 year old son struggling in a Minnesota river Monday. 32-year old Tammy Elmendorf went under in the Kettle River near Sandstone, Minnesota on a camping trip. The boy, Hunter Elmendorf was on a sandbar and slipped in the river. His mom jumped in after him, he made it, she did not. Mark Werner, Elmendorf's fiance managed to pull out the boy but ''saw Tammy go under and didn't come back up.''

Elmendorf worked as a cook at the Dutch Diner in Tampico. Her boss, Beverly Adamson said it's a brave act ''any mother would do'', and says ''Tammy could not have lived without her son''. The little boy is now without parents, his dad passed away 2 years ago from cancer. He is now with his paternal grandparents in Prophetstown, Illinois.

After a tough two years, Elmendorf was newly engaged and pursuing a career in wildlife rehabilitation. The camping trip, a celebration of the loves of her life, her son, fiancee, and nature. Her friend and former fiance Jim Hamilton said Tammy knew how to swim, but had lost alot of weight, about 150 pounds from gastric bypass surgery, and had told them she had felt alot weaker recently. ''She had lost alot of her strength, and she knew that, but she had to get Hunter out of there at all costs. That boy was everything to her, it was her ultimate sacrifice for her.''

chicagotribune.com http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-050607ildrown.story Illinois woman apparently drowns in Minnesota Published June 7, 2005, 12:47 PM CDT

 SANDSTONE, Minn. -- A 32-year-old Illinois woman apparently drowned while rescuing her son, who had slipped into the Kettle River while camping in eastern Minnesota. The Pine County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday in a news release that Tammy Lynn Elmendorf of Tampico, Ill., was camping with her son and fiance, Mark Werner of Indiana. The boy slipped into the river about 4 p.m. Monday, and the adults responded to his calls for help, authorities said. Elmendorf was struggling with the boy and Werner took him from her and got him to safety. When Werner turned around, Elmendorf was gone. Authorities recovered Elmendorf's body from the Kettle River about 9:30 p.m. The Ramsey County medical examiner's office was scheduled to perform an autops

WHBF.TV Channel 4

Mother Dies Saving Son
7-year old Hunter Elmendorf lost his father to cancer just two years ago. On Monday, he lost his mother. "It's just hard to comprehend that he's lost both of his parents within two years," said Tammy Elmendorf's employer Beverly Adamson. "At seven years old, that's remarkable." Hunter was on a camping trip with his mother Tammy and her friend Mark. Hunter was playing fetch with a dog in the Kettle River in Minnesota when the dog's toy floated away. Hunter slipped off a sandbar into deep water and Tammy jumped in to save him. As she struggled with the boy, Mark went into the river and took the boy from her and brought him safely to shore. But, when he turned around, Tammy was gone. "She loved (Hunter) more than anything in the world and she did what she had to do to save him," said Tammy's ex-fiance Jim Hamilton. "That's Tammy." Tammy also did what she had to do to give Hunter a family life. They moved from the Quad Cities to Tampico, IL about a year ago. Tammy worked as a cook and waitress in the Dutch Diner. She went to work after Hunter went to school and left work before he got home. She wanted to spend more time with her son. Their trip to the Kettle River was the first of many camping trips they had planned. It was also one of the first steps Tammy took toward fulfilling her dream of owning a wildlife art gallery. "She was doing what she wanted to do," said Hamilton, "she was fulfilling her dream."

Hunter will be adopted by his aunt and uncle who live in Sterling.

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