Irving Spear Hamer Jr.
January 6, 1946 – May 4, 2019
Irving Spear Hamer was born on January 6, 1946 and passed away on May 4, 2019.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Irving Spear Hamer Jr.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
ANITA AND JOHN DUREL
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.
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!
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
May 9, 2019
Tasha Gentry Holmes
May 8, 2019
Brilliant & excellence is what comes to mind when I think of Dr. Irving Hamer. He was the most audacious believer of black talent & surrounded himself with the likes as often as he could. A HUGE out of the box thinker would hold these weekly 3hr meetings beginning at 7am. It would be 20 or so of us... all in an effort of getting closer to perfection for the students and teachers of Memphis. (Those of us with young babies at that time ...struggled to make those meetings, but we got there LOL)
Twice Harvard grad, was raised from humble beginnings, he would often share his fond memories as a young boy of his mom’s rent parties to make ends meet. Those stories were all to remind us that he too understood poverty and struggle.
Because of him, I was introduced to The Broad Academy, completed two years of the Urban Human Capital at Princeton University, led as the HR Strategist for the Human Capital work with the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative and later collaborated with his consulting firm. He believed in me. He gave his best and demanded my best...everytime.
Many come into your world to make you a more thoughtful leader, Hamer was one.
He was definitely one the best edu leaders of our time. Offering immeasurable amts of sound advice and practical solutions in his most uncanny ways.
Thanks to my then assistant, Tammie Randolph who helped me manage all of the crazy during that time. LOL! don’t know how we got it all done♥️
I will miss our chats, the laughs and all of your advice. Sleep tight.
May 8, 2019
The noun that refers to a physical force, an influence or a strong effect. Dr. Hamer was all of these. With his tall statue he commanded respect, ducking down to fit under the door, once he arrived in a room, you knew he was there. As an influence, anyone who knew him or had the pleasure or pain of being in a meeting with him could see that he meant business,he always said that we needed to stop working in silos and in petite pockets of excellence and do right by our kids. He pushed us to be focused, dedicated and transparent. Sitting next to him in meetings, I always wished that maybe, just maybe, some of that brilliance would roll off of him and Dr. Richmond and land on me. Dr. Hamer was absolutely a rarity, his type of genius comes once in a lifetime. I am a better me because of who he was. Dr. Hamer you will be missed.
Dr. Jada Askew
May 7, 2019
It was one of the great honors of my professional and personal life to work with and get to know Dr. Irving Hamer during his tenure at Memphis City Schools. He challenged us to stretch beyond our normal capabilities and to bring our "A" game; to look beyond the boundaries of what has always been to see the possibilities of what could be and to steadfastly keep our focus on how to help equip children so that they can thrive and realize success. I am counted among the fortunate who were given the opportunity to partake of his brilliance and to catch a glimpse of how his amazing mind worked. My colleague Stacey Thompson and I served as his "scribes" for many hours and days, hoping to accurately capture his thoughts on paper. Our anticipation of his affirmation that we had done "good work" transformed us into excited grade school children who anxiously hoped to get a gold star and his approval. It meant a lot to be regarded by him for our expertise and it changed our professional "self esteem" forever.
The "Irving Hamer Experience" was the classic jazz that wafted through the hallway to his office...the rich, eclectic art that decorated the spaces he inhabited...the lone office light that shone through the window of the building long after everyone else had gone home...the arresting flash of anger in his eyes that was seen when forward progression was being threatened by backward thinking...the eloquent, extemporaneous turn of a phrase that flowed from his lips when he spoke from his immense wealth of knowledge and experience...the contagious, raspy laughter that erupted when amusement overtook him and so much more...He was truly one-of-a-kind.
Irving Hamer lived his life fearlessly, unapologetically and magnificently. I am all the better for having worked with and for him. May God grant his soul eternal peace and may God bless and comfort his family.
May 6, 2019
A light has gone out.
Irving Hamer was a force of nature. He could be a cyclone or a gentle breeze, a pelting rainstorm or a light mist, a blazing burning sun or a warming glow.
His capacity to love, to fight, to think and to lead was exceeded only by his fierceness. He bestowed his gentleness and fierceness in equal measure on all his beloveds. Each of us was made better by his attention and concern. Beyond us, the communities he worked in and the people he worked for, especially the children, benefitted immeasurably from his contributions and commitment.
I mourn the loss. For the world he left behind, the work left undone and his unfinished personal journey. I share in the pain, sorrow and grief of Tor, William and Alphonso and extend my deepest condolences to all his family and loved ones.
May we each and all continue to be warmed and illuminated by the light he shined. And may he forever Rest in Peace.
Farewell Irving Hamer. You live in our hearts forever.