Ernest A. Hamer, formerly of Fulton, New York, died at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, Sunday, October 24, at the ripe old age of 100.
He was predeceased by his wife, Mary, after a marriage of 69 years, his parents, Ernest and Greta Hamer, and his brother, Spencer Hamer.
Ernie (or Austin, as his Massachusetts family knew him) was born in Boston, MA, in 1921. As a young boy he sang in the choir at the Church of the Advent (Episcopal) in Boston and later in the Dedham, MA, glee club. After graduating Milton High School and working for the railroad, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July 1942, and completed boot camp in Newport, RI. He was stationed in Antigua, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and Key West, FL, where he served as a torpedoman’s mate.
During his time in Key West, he met the love of his life, Mary, and they were married in March 1946, following which they moved to Fulton.
Ernie was a longtime member of the Bowens Corners United Methodist Church, where he served as Lay Leader, Sunday school teacher and trustee for many years, sang in the choir, and filled many other roles. He was treasurer of the Crossroads United Methodist Men and active at Family Life Weekend at Camp Aldersgate, Greig, NY for over 60 years. He was also a past member of Hiram Lodge 144 F&AM, the Fulton Kiwanis Club, and a past chairman of the Fulton Salvation Army Board.
Along with Mary, Ernie was active in the Fulton Community Music Boosters as charter members (now Fulton Music Association) and a founding member and the first president of the Fulton Men’s Chorus. He was a cast member of many community musicals, including “Oklahoma,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and starred as the American Gothic farmer in “The Music Man.” Both were also active in the square-dancing group Pairs and Squares.
Following his retirement from Rollway Bearing in Liverpool in 1982, he joined Mary and his father in what is now known as the Hamer Singalong Group, founded in 1980. They traveled throughout Oswego and Onondaga Counties, singing at nursing homes and senior citizens’ complexes. Ernie and Mary were recognized by the Fulton Music Association in 2009 with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of their support of music and their sharing of their musical talents in the community.
Ernie and Mary were also recognized in 2010 by the Board of Directors of the St. Luke-John Foster Burden Fund for their positive impact on the community, demonstrating “integrity, creative ability and…working towards achieving a lasting positive contribution to our aging population.”
He may well be known best for his swimming: he and Mary went to the YMCA for many years, six days a week, and he swam laps in the pool. Every year on his birthday, until he damaged his shoulder at the age of 94, he swam laps for one mile, while the lifeguard counted his laps!
Ernie leaves his children, Melodye Pompa (John) of Las Cruces, NM, Lorelee Lamb of Oswego, Bradford Hamer (Shannon) of Jordan, NY, and Debra Rogers (Christopher) of Winchester, MA, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren to treasure his memory.
Ernie’s motto throughout life was “responsibility and service,” whether to his family, to his country, to his church or to his community. When asked to help with a project or to give aid to someone in need, he never said no. He will long be remembered for his service to all of us.
A memorial service will be held at the Jordan United Methodist Church, Jordan, NY, on Saturday, November 13 at 11 a.m. with a reception immediately following the service in the Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Fulton Music Association, c/o Janet Sczupak, 876 County Route 55, Fulton, NY 1, Honor Flight Syracuse, PO Box 591, Syracuse, NY 13069 or Camp Aldersgate, 7955 Brantingham Road, Greig, NY 13345.
For the safety of all, masks are required.
Foster Funeral Home, Fulton, has care of arrangements.