Miriam Hammer, 103

April 30, 1914 - Oct. 10, 2017
Miriam Hammer, April 30, 1914 - Oct. 10, 2017

Miriam Hammer was “perky and loving to the end,” according to her family. An exceptional cook who lived with her family on Gardiner’s Bay in Springs, she often presided over a dinner table of 20, as well as “clambakes and beach parties galore,” her daughter, Elizabeth Cafiso of East Hampton, said.

Mrs. Hammer died on Oct. 10 at the age of 103. A native of North Adams, Mass., she loved East Hampton and planted roots here, becoming involved in politics and other affairs and advocating care of the environment. 

She and her husband, Frank Hammer, who died in 1972, built their house on the water in 1949. The couple had three children, and the family shared idyllic summers of fishing, swimming, and boating, using “every kind of a boat from a canoe to a Boston Whaler,” Ms. Cafiso said. After Mr. Hammer retired, they divided their time between Florida, where he became a boat captain and worked with his sons, and the East End, where they eventually bought a house on Abraham’s Path. 

For a time the Hammers lived close to the late Pierre Franey, a renowned chef, but her family always believed she was the better cook. She was known for her seafood dishes as well as apple pie and two-foot-long prime rib roasts. 

She loved to read, spent hours doing crossword puzzles, and was an expert at knitting, sewing, and crocheting, supplying her family with wearable art for years. She was a great Yankees fan, attending games at Yankee Stadium or listening to them on the radio. 

Born on April 30, 1914,  a daughter of Emil and Anna Coleman, who had immigrated from Finland, she moved to New York City, where she met her future husband. She worked as a nurse’s aide, and he was a New York City fireman and mason who worked with his father building schools and municipal buildings. The couple married in 1935.

A member of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton, where the family celebrated many weddings and baptisms, Mrs. Hammer had a phrase she repeated during a family crisis: “Get the Hail Marys going,” she would say. 

Two sisters died before her, as did a son, Frank Hammer Jr., in 2011. In addition to her daughter, known as Betty, she is survived by another son, Edward Hammer of Gulf Shores, Ala. Eight grandchildren also survive, as do 11 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

A Mass will be said on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Most Holy Trinity, the Rev. Ryan Creamer presiding. Burial will follow at Most Holy Trinity Cemetery on Cedar Street in East Hampton, where there will be a graveside service.