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Obituaries » Donald Jacob Hammer

Donald Jacob Hammer

August 7, 1937 - February 23, 2016


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Donald Jacob Hammer, 78, succumbed to cancer Tuesday, February 23 2016 at home after a long, courageous 4 and a half year battle.

He leaves his wife of 10 years Sandra Lynn (Burke) Hammer, sons Jim Hammer, Mark Hammer, Mike Hammer, stepson Dylan Waltz, stepdaughter Kim O’Brien, son-in-law Mike O’Brien, daughters-in-law Cerce Hammer, Caressa Suarez, brothers John Hammer, Ray Hammer, Chuck Hammer, Roger Hammer, Alfred Hammer, sisters Liz Hammer (Buckingham), Charlotte Hammer (Cook), grandchildren Nick Hammer, Chet Hammer, Rachael Hammer, Ben Hammer, Gabe Hammer, Ashley Young, Farwell Reid, Roman Waltz, Angelo Waltz, Elijah Waltz, Adrian Suarez.

Born and raised in Greenwood, Nebraska son of Karl and Hatti Hammer, he was a longtime resident of Petaluma after a brief 5 year return back to his roots of owning farmland with wife Sandy in Greenwood.

He worked on the state highways when he was young. An avid racing & NASCAR fan, he had experience himself on the amateur circuit. That love grew into many hours spent on his NASCAR simulator game commandeering the steering wheel as a home computer champion in his later years. He turned his natural love for being behind the wheel into a career as a driver. He began as a bread deliveryman in Nebraska before deciding he’d had enough of the cold Nebraska weathers. With just $200 in his pocket, put a hitch on his newly purchased ‘64 Chevy Impala, a U-Haul trailer in tow, and headed west with the family out to California. The Hammers landed in Marin County for a year before settling in Petaluma in 1965. He landed a job with Berkeley Farms as a milkman and bought a new 2-story house in 1967 on Annetta Drive.

He was a pure family man. He always put family first. He got his sons started in soccer when there weren’t any soccer leagues in Petaluma, with a German friend from work. That was the start of their love for sports. He taught his sons how to work on cars, how to fix everything themselves passing along skills they still use today. He worked in the beer business for about 20 years as a driver receiving numerous safe driver awards & recognition. Son Jim told him he wanted to start up a boat business, telling him he’d make him a partner if he would like to help. Don did the books and together with Jim grew the boat stores into one of the largest boat dealerships in the nation. So successful they were one of the top 10 Ski Nautique dealerships in the world for 18 out of 20 years. He then retired to take care of his first wife Joyce who was terminally ill. He then met the love of his life Sandy soon after in 2002.

Don loved traveling in the fifth-wheel trailer with Sandy discovering the natural beauty of the U.S. He also had fondness of barbequing in the back yard and family gatherings. He was known and will be remembered as a gentle soul, generous enough to give you the shirt off his back, and full of love and strength. He fought long and hard in his battle against Multiple Myeloma, maintaining a great sense of humor and always able to flash his memorable smile.

A private service will be held with family at Cypress Hill Memorial Park in Petaluma March 7th, followed by a celebration of life. Arrangements in the care of Adobe Creek Funeral Home & Cremation Services