Peter “Pa” Donald Hammer, Sr., 70, of Tabor City, NC, finally reunited with the love of his life on Sunday, May 30, 2021 in Moses Cone Memorial Hospital, Greensboro, NC after a brief battle with cancer. His beloved wife of 43 years, Jane Ellen Wannemacher Hammer, died in 2015, and Peter spent the last six years talking about how much he was looking forward to seeing her in heaven.
Peter was born on July 3, 1950 to Bertha Baldwin and Joseph Hammer in Elizabeth, NJ. He was raised in Linden, NJ and after graduating from Linden High School in 1968, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served until Aug 1971. He would later become a Staff Sergeant with the Army National Guard and retired with over 35 years of service.
Peter met the love of his life, Jane Ellen Wannemacher, when he was 14 years old and often said from the moment he first saw her he knew she was the only woman for him. After multiple bus rides from Linden to West Orange and many failed attempts to garner her attention and before enlisting, she sent him a letter in bootcamp and their love story began. They wed in February 1971 and had four children Ellen Louise, Peter Donald Jr., Jean Marie, and Donald Clifford.
He went from protecting and serving his country to protecting and serving his community. Detective Lieutenant Peter Hammer began his career with the Township of Springfield, NJ Police Department in December of 1972 after graduating from the New Jersey State Police Municipal Police Officer Training Center, Class 138, in Sea Girt. Officer Hammer was promoted to Patrol Sergeant in June of 1981 and then Patrol Lieutenant in 1988. In 1990, he was assigned to the Detective Bureau as a Detective Lieutenant at which he served until he retired in July of 2005 after 33 years of service.
Detective Lieutenant Hammer received his Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice in 1975 and later achieved his Bachelor's Degree in Criminology from Trinity Southern University in 2003. Pete was the Department's first Domestic Violence liaison officer, a member of PBA Local 76, and served in the position of Delegate during his career.
He became known as “Pa” in 1996 with the birth of his first grandchild, Gavin D’Adamo followed by his other grandchildren Abigail Dehler, Colin Hammer, Garrett D’Adamo, Sarah Dehler, Paige Hammer, Grayson D’Adamo, Owen Hammer, and Jaxon Dehler as well as grandchildren by marriage Chandler Hammer, Ashlyn Lanik, Brooke Lanik, Jacob Nicosia, Mackenzie Nicosia, Abigail Nicosia, and Robert Nicosia.
Anyone who knew Pa knew that his family meant more to him than anything else in the world, something he often mentioned. He was unendingly proud of his family and the military and law enforcement tradition that he started. Daughter Ellen retired from the US Coast Guard at the rank of Commander, son Peter Jr. served in the US Marine Corps and became a Linden, NJ Police Officer, son Donald served in the US Marine Corps and became a NJ Transit Police Officer, grandson Gavin D’Adamo served in the US Marine Corps and became a Beaufort County, SC Sheriff’s Officer, and grandson Colin Hammer is in US Navy bootcamp. He was also well pleased with his daughter Jean’s training as a certified nursing assistant and phlebotomist and that she was a wonderful mother to her children and provided good care to him, her mother and her grandparents throughout the stages of their illnesses and last days.
In addition to being a loving father and husband, he was also a great friend and neighbor. He was a beloved member of his community on Riviera Drive in Forked River, the Bottom in Tabor City, and Green Sea Baptist Church. He was a friend, father, and grandfather figure to many children and adults in all of these neighborhoods, welcoming others into his circle of friendship, making them feel like part of the family.
He is survived by his children Ellen L. Hammer and husband Scott Nicosia of Brown Summit, NC, Peter Jr and his wife Danielle of Forked River, NJ, Jean Dehler and husband David of Green Sea, SC, Donald and wife Carrie of Forked River, NJ, sisters Barbara Bettle and Christine Fela, his loving grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors, and faithful dog Lacy.
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