Irving Spear Hamer Jr.

January 6, 1946May 4, 2019

Irving Spear Hamer was born on January 6, 1946 and passed away on May 4, 2019.


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Irving Spear Hamer Jr.

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Faye Williams

May 16, 2019

Irving Hamer has been a part of my life since I was 13 years old, that’s over 50 years. He was the director of Lincoln Street Academy. From that little store front school he taught us so much. He would tell us to use our bump. Our bump was in our hands. In other words be about doing,not talking about it. He took us to Russia and even made a survival camp in the Adirondacks.
He and William became my family as the years went on. He has been there for my entire family since day one.
Thank you Irving for all of the years of advice, introductions, and education you’ve given me. As I look back I realize a lot of things in my life stems from those years under your guidance ,at Lincoln Street Academy. You will truly be missed by me and the family.

Rosa Williams

May 16, 2019

Dr. Irving Hamer, my son. I do not remember when or where I met him, one day he was just in my life and he never left.
He was someone’s father, brother, uncle, and cousin but he was my son. There are so many wonderful things I could tell you about him. How he was willing to give up his office space to prepare a bedroom for me when I was sick or how he came to my house and saw my dining room table was broken and went out and purchased a dinette set for me .
If I were to write a book I would not be able to tell you all the full story about our relationship. He was a son like no other . He always introduced me as his mother and that was the high light of my life.
He touched my life, my children, grandchildren and even my great grands. We are all much better because of it.
I am 91 years old, it just seems that I would have been the first to go but God had other plans for him.
Good night my son. Irving I love you.

Jeff Howard

May 16, 2019

Truly a shock to hear of Irving Hamer’s death. I’ll miss my conversations with him.

IH was a fundamentally decent man, committed to children. He was one of the best, and the smartest educational administrators in the country. Large urban districts are notoriously difficult to change; Hamer was one of the people who might have pulled it off, in the right place, with the right political context. Now we’ll never know.

It’s a big loss, for those of us who knew and cared for him, and for the school children and educators who might have benefited from his work.

Dorsey Hopson

May 12, 2019

Irving was one of the most brilliant and thoughtful minds I have ever known. Memphis still benefits tremendously from your best and out of the box thinking. Rest In Peace my brother.

Dorsey Hopson

Marianne Garvin

May 12, 2019

Irving came into my life nearly 45 years ago, through a deep relationship he had with my future husband. I had never met then, or in all my years since, a man like Irving. Passionate, fierce, intelligent, funny, lyrical, righteous, and so much more, a description that barely scratches the surface. Those who knew and loved Irving know what I mean. I am so sad that he is gone. Can’t quite wrap my mind around it.

I send my deep condolences to his family. Peace be with you.


Leslie King-Hammond

May 11, 2019

I am so sad for the loss of this most amazing person. I have such fond memories of our early years dancing at parties which we loved to do. He was such a brainiac!!! I just loved messing with him. So sorry I lost connection with him after he left Baltimore.

I will keep each of you in my circle of prayer...wishing and hoping you are well,


Edmund W Gordon

May 11, 2019

Rest well, my dear younger fictive brother and Friend. Yours is a life well lived in the service of others. Your strong arm and brilliant mind were always extended to help or protect those weaker or younger. Your life defined love of the other. I miss your informed and thoughtful insight. Love

PS: Tor, you know where to find me, if you ever need to. Your dad was a real man who lived the life of a man!


May 10, 2019

I am so sad to receive this news. For our family Irving was a DAD, above all else. He made every birthday Tor had into a learning experience, but the kids were so busy having fun they never took notice of the exposure he offered them. Generous and encouraging, he took that pack of boys all kinds of places, and I think he relished just watching them being boys. I know he also appreciated that Tor found himself very much at home here. He created lasting memories for my sons and life experiences that matter. We are grateful to have known him.

Sharon Myers

May 9, 2019

Heartbroken, for the loss of a dear friend.

My friendship with Irving, was sparked by a chance encounter at an airport years ago. The initial chemisty we shared never diminished and developed into a wonderful friendship. I admired his truths, passions, intense quest for change, and bold style. Our friendship was filled with laughs, hours of deep conversation over any topic, review of books, music, lots of dancing and much more.....

Irving changed my life for the better; for which, I am forever thankful and blessed. As my tears dry, I am left with memories of Irving that make me smile and warms my heart with joy.

To the family, my prayers are with you during this time of loss. Irving Spear Hamer, Jr. left a legacy for all of us to follow. He provided us the blue print to make a difference, stand on principles of social change which can improve the lives of others. Irving rest in peace my dear friend, I will never forget you!

Love Always,

Sharon Barnett-Myers
Memphis, Tennessee

Wayne Booker

May 9, 2019

Dr. Hamer was/is truly one of the pioneers and leaders in urban education. His genius, foresight, and strategic direction set Memphis City Schools/Shelby County Schools on a trajectory that would have placed it in the position to be a "world-class" school district. His ability to cut through the barriers (cultural, political, social, economic) that inhibited educational professionals from providing effective and quality educational delivery systems to students, was phenomenal. Dr. Hamer believed in the importance of the teacher-student relationship, just as much as he believed in the relationship between the home-school-community.

The mantra of "No Excuses" was exemplified by him and evidenced in the teams and professionals that he led. During the early morning meetings, being prepared was not the only goal for the attendees, but being able to look beyond the work and see what the end results could and should be was paramount.

My deepest condolences and prayers to the Hamer Family. Not only will he be missed as a tremendous leader, but a strategic thinker and champion for students, parents, and education as a whole.


Wayne P. Booker