In memory of
Susan Hammer
In memory of
Susan Hammer
Susan Hammer Dec. 14, 1948 - Aug. 26, 2020 Susan Hammer, a trailblazing lawyer, mediator and community leader, passed away Aug. 26, 2020 in Portland. The daughter of Harriette and Stanley Hammer, she was born Dec. 14, 1948 in Salem, and graduated from South Salem High School. Susan graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 1976 and served as the law clerk for Justice James Dolliver on the Washington State Supreme Court. She practiced law at Stoel Rives for 20 years, beginning in 1978. She was one of the first women to become a partner in a major Portland law firm; she practiced in the areas of commercial litigation and labor and employment law. Susan continued a lifetime commitment to community service while at the law firm, serving as the first woman president of the Multnomah Bar Association and through extensive board and pro bono work. She was one of the early recipients of the Women of Achievement Award from the Oregon Commission for Women, in 1987, and received the outstanding Alumni Award from Willamette University in 1991. Susan developed an intense interest in mediation as early as 1988 as a way to provide a less expensive and more satisfying way for clients to solve legal disputes. In 1998, with the encouragement of her friend and mentor, the late Sidney I. Lezak, Susan left Stoel Rives to start her own mediation practice. She was one of the first women in Portland to establish a mediation practice in an area of law that was little understood or used. Over the next 20 years, she mediated thousands of cases covering a wide range of disputes and served as a senior fellow at the Willamette University Center for Dispute Resolution. She received national recognition from the International Academy of Mediators, which invited her to serve on its board and awarded her its Presidential Honor Award in 2012 and 2014. She was listed in the top tier of The Best Lawyers in America and was named Oregon Mediation "Lawyer of the Year" in 2012. Her success as a mediator gave Susan the flexibility to pursue her passion for community service. During the next 20 years, she served as chair of the board of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette, chair of its capital campaign for the new Regional Service Center and was the first recipient of the Planned Parenthood Susan Hammer Award for Transformative Leadership. Her other major roles in the community included president of the City Club of Portland; trustee and then life trustee of the Willamette University Board; the boards of the Pacific Northwest College of Art; Ecotrust; and most recently the boards of Literary Arts and Oregon Public Broadcasting. With or without a title, her hard work and commitment thrust her into leadership roles in all of the organizations she served. Among her many awards were the Multnomah Bar Association Professionalism Award, and the first Sally Lawrence President's Award that was presented this year to Susan and her partner of 30 years, sculptor Lee Kelly, by Pacific Northwest College of Art. Susan and Lee traveled the world together, including five trips to Nepal and trips to Asia, Indonesia and South America. While trekking in Nepal, they became close friends with their Sherpa. Susan supported his children through their schooling. Susan loved the Pacific Northwest, where she and Lee climbed peaks, rock and ice. Her greatest joy was being outdoors, backpacking, hiking and savoring nature and outdoor adventures. Susan's exposure to world cultures enriched her life of spirituality and supported her transition into the divine mystery. She passed with a heart full of gratitude and love. Susan's most important legacy is as a true friend to the many people whose lives she touched and as a devoted aunt to her nephews and niece. In addition to Lee Kelly, she is survived by her brothers, Paul, Jim and Tom Hammer; her beloved niece, Danielle; nephews, John, Peter, Eric, Jax, Casey, Sean, Jake and Josh; and by six beautiful children of the next generation. She is especially grateful to her Healing Circle, her caregivers and her loving and supportive friends and family. C.E.S. Wood said, "Good citizens are the riches of a city." The riches that Susan Hammer bestowed on Portland, the State of Oregon and her many friends and family will be enduring. Plans for a memorial service will be announced later. Donations in her memory may be made to Friends of The Columbia Gorge, Literary Arts, Hoyt Arboretum Friends, Willamette University or the charity of your choice. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
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In memory of
Susan Hammer
Susan Hammer Dec. 14, 1948 - Aug. 26, 2020 Susan Hammer, a trailblazing lawyer, mediator and community leader, passed away Aug. 26, 2020 in Portland. The daughter of Harriette and Stanley Hammer, she was born Dec. 14, 1948 in Salem, and graduated from South Salem High School. Susan graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 1976 and served as the law clerk for Justice James Dolliver on the Washington State Supreme Court. She practiced law at Stoel Rives for 20 years, beginning in 1978. She was one of the first women to become a partner in a major Portland law firm; she practiced in the areas of commercial litigation and labor and employment law. Susan continued a lifetime commitment to community service while at the law firm, serving as the first woman president of the Multnomah Bar Association and through extensive board and pro bono work. She was one of the early recipients of the Women of Achievement Award from the Oregon Commission for Women, in 1987, and received the outstanding Alumni Award from Willamette University in 1991. Susan developed an intense interest in mediation as early as 1988 as a way to provide a less expensive and more satisfying way for clients to solve legal disputes. In 1998, with the encouragement of her friend and mentor, the late Sidney I. Lezak, Susan left Stoel Rives to start her own mediation practice. She was one of the first women in Portland to establish a mediation practice in an area of law that was little understood or used. Over the next 20 years, she mediated thousands of cases covering a wide range of disputes and served as a senior fellow at the Willamette University Center for Dispute Resolution. She received national recognition from the International Academy of Mediators, which invited her to serve on its board and awarded her its Presidential Honor Award in 2012 and 2014. She was listed in the top tier of The Best Lawyers in America and was named Oregon Mediation "Lawyer of the Year" in 2012. Her success as a mediator gave Susan the flexibility to pursue her passion for community service. During the next 20 years, she served as chair of the board of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette, chair of its capital campaign for the new Regional Service Center and was the first recipient of the Planned Parenthood Susan Hammer Award for Transformative Leadership. Her other major roles in the community included president of the City Club of Portland; trustee and then life trustee of the Willamette University Board; the boards of the Pacific Northwest College of Art; Ecotrust; and most recently the boards of Literary Arts and Oregon Public Broadcasting. With or without a title, her hard work and commitment thrust her into leadership roles in all of the organizations she served. Among her many awards were the Multnomah Bar Association Professionalism Award, and the first Sally Lawrence President's Award that was presented this year to Susan and her partner of 30 years, sculptor Lee Kelly, by Pacific Northwest College of Art. Susan and Lee traveled the world together, including five trips to Nepal and trips to Asia, Indonesia and South America. While trekking in Nepal, they became close friends with their Sherpa. Susan supported his children through their schooling. Susan loved the Pacific Northwest, where she and Lee climbed peaks, rock and ice. Her greatest joy was being outdoors, backpacking, hiking and savoring nature and outdoor adventures. Susan's exposure to world cultures enriched her life of spirituality and supported her transition into the divine mystery. She passed with a heart full of gratitude and love. Susan's most important legacy is as a true friend to the many people whose lives she touched and as a devoted aunt to her nephews and niece. In addition to Lee Kelly, she is survived by her brothers, Paul, Jim and Tom Hammer; her beloved niece, Danielle; nephews, John, Peter, Eric, Jax, Casey, Sean, Jake and Josh; and by six beautiful children of the next generation. She is especially grateful to her Healing Circle, her caregivers and her loving and supportive friends and family. C.E.S. Wood said, "Good citizens are the riches of a city." The riches that Susan Hammer bestowed on Portland, the State of Oregon and her many friends and family will be enduring. Plans for a memorial service will be announced later. Donations in her memory may be made to Friends of The Columbia Gorge, Literary Arts, Hoyt Arboretum Friends, Willamette University or the charity of your choice. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
View Full Obituary ›
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