Dr. John L. Hamer M.D., age 95, died on January 15, 2019, at Timbercrest Senior Living Community, North Manchester IN. He was born in 1923, in Waterloo, Iowa, to parents O. Stuart Hamer, PhD, and Gertrude (Sharp) Hamer.
In his youth, the family, including an older brother Vaughn, moved to North Manchester where John enjoyed working with other youth in the community and served on the Middle Indiana Youth Cabinet. In these years John was influenced by church leaders whose teachings on peace and reconciliation became a primary focus of John.
John attended school in North Manchester and graduated from Central High School in 1941 and then earned a degree in Chemistry and Pre-Med from Manchester College. John received his M.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. It was there that he met Esther Rinehart, from Hagerstown, IN who was also attending Case Western Reserve University in the School of Nursing.
After earning his M.D., John and Esther were married on June 28, 1952 in Hagerstown, IN, at the Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren. In 1953, both John and Esther went to Nigeria, where they both performed Medical/Nursing work for 16 years. In addition to his medical work, John was also an ordained minister and elder in the Church of the Brethren and an active participant in the ministry and mission work at Lassa. During the end of their period of work at the hospital in Lassa, a co-working nurse became very ill. After various treatments, lab tests and critical evaluations, John believed strongly that they had discovered a new viral disease. Research from specimens of the nurse’s body at Yale Arbovirus Research Labs at Yale University led to the affirmation of John’s discovery and the deadly viral disease was then named Lassa Fever.
Upon returning from Nigeria in 1969, John joined a group family practice in LaGrange, IN, and then had his own family practice of 18 years in Fort Wayne, IN. John was the first hospice physician when the Parkview Hospital Hospice Program began. John performed additional work at the Fort Wayne State Development Center for 10 years. During their time in Fort Wayne and up to the present, they are members of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren.
In 1989, both John and his wife Esther, received Manchester College Alumni Honor awards and John was recognized by the State of Indiana Medical Association for 50 years as a practicing physician.
John & Esther both loved to travel and their journeys took them throughout the United States, including Alaska and the islands of Hawaii, also to China, Russia, Egypt, the Middle East, and much of Europe.
John will be forever remembered by his wife, Esther Hamer, North Manchester and two daughters, Dr. Harriet Hamer (Abram Bergen), South Bend IN and Krista Hamer-Schweer (Thomas Schweer), Colbe, Germany, 2 step grandchildren and 4 step great grandchildren. Also by nieces and nephews, David, Sylvia, Kevin and Janice Hamer. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Vaughn Hamer (Marcia), and nephew Robin Hamer.
A Memorial Service will take place at Timbercrest Chapel, 2201 East Street, North Manchester on Saturday February 9, 2019 at 1:15 p.m. with Visitation to follow. Visitation will also take place on Sunday February, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, 2810 Beacon St. Fort Wayne. Pastors Brian Flory and Karen Eberly will officiate. Burial will be Oaklawn Cemetery, North Manchester IN.
In lieu of flowers preferred Memorials are to the John L. and Esther L. Rinehart Hamer Endowed Professorship in Music at Manchester University; Timbercrest, or Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren.