Robert E. Hammer, age 89 of Faribault, MN, died on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at Milestone Senior Living in Faribault.
Robert Eugene, the son of Rolf W. and Verona (Bakken) Hammer, was born on August 7, 1931, and raised in Faribault, MN, graduating with the Faribault High School class of 1949. He worked in the Engineering department at Nutting Truck as a mechanical draftsman. He enlisted in the USAF in 1950 and received an Honorable Discharge in 1953. The GI Bill allowed him to go on to school, and he earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees from the University of Houston, Houston, Texas; and his PhD Degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
His work background was varied and included work as a: Ballroom Dance Instructor, Quality Control Supervisor, Special Education Teacher, University Counselor and Test Supervisor, Tutor, and Salesman. He worked at a state psychiatric hospital in Iowa for 32 years, as Chief Psychologist and in addition to those duties he at various times worked on the Children’s Unit, the Adult services, Out-patient Department, Geriatric Unit, and Alcohol Treatment Program. He developed and was Director of the inpatient Adolescent Treatment Unit. He served as ‘Acting Director’ of both the Activities Therapy and Social Services Departments.
In addition to his clinical work, he conducted program evaluations and treatment outcome studies for the state Department of Mental Health. He maintained a private clinical and counseling practice; and provided consulting services to a Boy’s Group Home, several County Care Facilities, numerous Nursing Homes, and held privileges in six County Hospitals.
It was in the AF that he developed his passion for teaching – as reflected by his leisure pursuits: He was a Red Cross Instructor in Water Safety and CPR; he taught 4H dog obedience and showmanship classes; he continued Ballroom dance lessons through Adult Education and served as ‘Training Officer’ for half of his 29 years as a volunteer Firefighter.
After moving back to Minnesota he: was a substitute teacher; taught Driver Safety classes to seniors; and facilitated Juvenile Probation treatment groups and Domestic Abuse/Anger-Management groups for the County Courts and Probation Departments. He was a Trustee of District One Hospital, Faribault Area Senior Center, and North Grove Cemetery Association.
He was a member of the American Psychological Association, the Iowa Psychological Association, the Minnesota Psychological Association, American Legion Post 43 of Faribault, Masonic Lodge #9 AF&AM of Faribault, MN and Masonic Lodge #87 AF&AM of Independence, IA; the Lakelanders Barbershop Chorus of Faribault, the United States Chess Federation; and Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, Faribault.
He married Bonnie Jo French Fergesen on November 12, 1988, in Independence, Iowa.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter, Beth and her husband, Rick Wion; daughter, Carol Bauer; and granddaughter, Heather Schoonover.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 32 years, Bonnie; his sons, Gregory Schoonover of Sontag, MS and Mark (Ginny) Beutnagel of Medham, NJ; son and daughter, Rick (Nancy) Fergesen, of Edina, MN, and Barbara (Roger) Carstens of Oregon City, OR; siblings, Geri Larson and Larry (Toni) Hammer, both of Faribault and David Hammer of St. Paul; grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Memorial services will be held on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, Faribault. Interment will be held at the Coggon Cemetery, Coggon, Iowa at a later date. For those unable to attend you may watch the livestream of the service through a link found on Bob’s obituary page.