Eulogy for
Edgar H. Hemmer

Presented by Keith Smith
Given at Rotary Club March 1, 2011

Edgar Harold Hemmer was born in Seymour, Indiana in 1923. He died in West Lafayette last month at age 87.

My association with Ed began when he joined our Rotary Club in 1987. He an d I served together on the Long Center Board during its restoration. We also se rved together on the Westminster Village Board when the current expansion was pl anned. Ed and I are both residents of Westminster Village. And we were occasio nal partners in duplicate bridge.

Ed is one of the most remarkable persons that I have known. Preparing this eulogy for him has been a challenging assignment, especially given Ed's recent Journal & Courier funeral notice that he wrote himself in great detail. Allow m e to briefly review his background and accomplishments, and then offer my sense of his personal characteristics.

As to education, Ed graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute. He stu died Aeronautical Engineering at Purdue and received a B.S. He attended the U.S . Naval Academy and then the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. He returned to Purdue and received an M.S. in Engineering, followed by a Ph.D. in management from the Krannert School.

Ed married Phyllis 62 years ago. She is a librarian and a home decorator. They have four daughters, five grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. From his memorial service last week, we learned that the Hemmers are a close fa mily, and with a great interest in music and singing together on birthdays and s pecial occasions. Ed and Phyllis always seemed like a very happy couple.

In terms of military experience, Ed was a U.S. Navy pilot and flew from air craft carriers during the Korean War. He ditched an airplane in the Sea of Japa n and was rescued by a Destroyer. Subsequent naval assignments were in Maine, F lorida, Washington DC, and Newfoundland. Ed retired as Naval Commander in 1967.

During and following his graduate training at Purdue, Ed taught courses at Wright State University in Dayton, Indiana University, and Purdue University.

After the Navy, Ed joined his brother Carl in real estate development in th e Jackson Park area of Seymour. His engineering studies were enhanced by projec t engineering and management experience, thus setting the stage for his numerous activities in the Lafayette area.

I would refer to that activity as a professional volunteer. Among his many organizational assignments, Ed served the Salvation Army, Faith Presbyterian Ch urch, Long Center for the Performing Arts, and Westminster Village.

One of my earliest experiences with Ed was when he was elected to the Long Center Board for the express purpose of leading the restoration of an old theatr e. Ed asked to speak before a vote on his election was taken. He indicated ju st how he would manage the restoration, what he would do, what he would not do, and how he would organize the project and control contractors and timetable. Ed was elected to the Board, and he proceeded to do exactly what he said. The res ult is what we now see -- a beautiful Long Center facility that graces our Lafay ette community and mid-western Indiana. Ed has continued that style of project leadership as the Westminster Village expansion is now becoming a reality.

There are many personal characteristics that one could identify with Ed Hem mer. He had a strong Christian faith that was reflected in his high integrity i n all that he did. He was widely read and intellectually curious. He listened well and was an interesting conversationalist. He was a generous financial cont ributor, sometimes anonymously, to many organizations, including our Lafayette R otary Club. In each of his volunteer activities, Ed was quite focused. He alwa ys seemed to have a clear agenda for what he planned to accomplish with that pro ject. Each time that Ed agreed to a project, he worked hard and succeeded. In the last few days, I asked several of you what you most remember about Ed Hemmer . I got answers that Ed suffered no fools. There were no hidden punches. Ed was grumpy but in a pleasant way. When asked to help, Ed indicated that he woul d, but he would do it his way, and please do not get in his way.

In sum, Ed Hemmer was a remarkable individual in all that he accomplished. He lived a full life and had a productive career. He made enormous contributio ns to our community. When I recite our Rotary's "Four Way Test," I think immedi ately of Ed Hemmer. That was how he lived with great gusto. He surely will be missed by myself and many others.

Keith Smith