Preben Hammer of Austin, Texas, was killed with his wife, Alice, when the car in which they were passengers was hit by an out of control vehicle on June 9, 2018 near Spicewood.
Preben was born to Tage and Kamma Jensen of Rønne, Denmark. He graduated from Østre Skole and completed his electrician training with Borge Rasmussen in Rønne. He worked as an electrician in Sweden and served in the Royal Danish Air Force. He graduated as an electrical engineer in Helsingør, where he met Alice. They fell in love and married in Gurre, Denmark on September 8, 1973. Preben and his bricklayer father built a lovely house on Gurre Lake where Preben and Alice started their family. After immigrating to the US in 1981, Preben was an engineer at the Milwaukee Railroad, Abbot Laboratories, UOP, and Envirodyne Engineering. He also founded the Scandinavian Store and Baltic Home Inspections, Inc.
Preben was a life-long sailor and member of the Chicago Yacht Club. He also enjoyed trail riding with Alice. He took great joy representing his home island of Bornholm with his folk costume and dancing with his good friends in Leikaringen Heimhug. He volunteered extensively with Citizens for Conservation in Illinois. After moving to Austin in 2014, Preben served on the Building and Fire Code Board of Appeals on behalf of City Councilman Flannigan and took pride in volunteering his electrical skills at Peace Lutheran Church. He enjoyed travel, the outdoors, reading, birding, and many other hobbies with Alice, and long walks and errands to the hardware store with his daughter Suzanne. He embraced his role as handyman extraordinaire assisting his daughters, neighbors, and community groups. He loved sharing Danish culture and food with friends and neighbors, especially his sugared potatoes and gravy. And most importantly, he was the incredibly beloved and playful Morfar to four grandchildren, who could count on him to build the perfect swing, fix and ride bikes, and lovingly prepare chocolate oatmeal.
Preben will be despondently missed by his two daughters, Suzanne and Monica Hammer; sons-in-law Alex Athey and Luke Schwankl; four grandchildren, Kai Hammer Athey, Sonja Monica Athey, Genevieve Grace Schwankl Hammer, and Marianne Hope Schwankl Hammer; sister, retired nurse and city council representative Mona Jensen Hammer; nieces Gertie Hammer Bjørch and Nanna Hammer Schou; sister-in-law, retired Chicago Alderman Mary Ann Smith; and nephews Michael and Matthew Smith. He was deeply in love with his wife, Alice, who died with him.
A ceremony and reception will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, June 23rd at Peace Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, officiated by Pastor Carolyn Albert Donovan. Burial will follow on a later date at Arlington Cemetery in Chicago and in Rønne, Denmark. Memorials may be made to Citizens for Conservation in Barrington, Illinois.
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