February 26, 1953 - February 20, 2016
Dr. Edward Lammer died unexpectedly Saturday a few days before his 63rd birthday. He was born in 1953, the second of six children, to Benedict Lammer, a milkman, and Anne Lammer, a school teacher, in Dubuque, Iowa. An All-State high school basketball player, he received his undergraduate education at Washington University in St. Louis, then studied for his medical degree and completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Iowa School of Medicine. He was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Mass-General Hospital and UCSF.
Dr. Lammer's early career as a medical geneticist focused on an emerging syndrome in which women exposed to the acne drug Accutane gave birth to children with a constellation of severe malformations. He is remembered as a dedicated advocate for the families of affected children. As a Principal Investigator at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Research Institute in Oakland, Dr. Lammer used epidemiological approaches to study the genetic and environmental contributions to common major birth defects, including gene-environment interactions. He had retired a month prior to his passing but was still actively involved in multiple studies. He mentored many future scientists and doctors.
Ed was a devoted father and a loving husband who brought a zeal to a range of passions from trading Grateful Dead tapes to propagating a succulent garden. He was a fearless and exuberant traveler and exposed his kids at an early age to Teotihicaun, back country skiing in the Sierras, and shows at the Fillmore. He maintained a birding life list as he bird-watched on multiple continents and loved to hike in the redwoods of Northern California. He took sabbaticals in Amsterdam, where he explored the city by bike, and in Scotland, where he enjoyed the North Sea in the company of single malt scotch.
Ed's research required an immersion in the complexity of human genetics, but he balanced it with a compassion for the affected families. He found inspiration in evolutionary theory, rationality, psychedelic music, the works of Sir Walter Scott, and rare Brunello vintages. He was a larger than life and unlikely figure in every way; a world-renowned researcher who wore homemade Hawaiian shirts and pink shorts to his lab. He is remembered for his humble demeanor, his non-judgmental attitude towards everyone he encountered, and his mellow charm and quiet warmth.
He is sorely missed by his wife Dibsy Machta of Berkeley, CA, his children Aaron Lammer (Anne Garrett) and Ellie Lammer (Dave Packles), and his five siblings Diane Kutsch (Mike), Richard Lammer, Susie Orr (Tom), Peggy Satterlund (Nels), Pat Lammer (Cheryl), his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Jon Machta and Betsy Brooks, and six nieces and nephews.
A celebration of his life will take place on the occasion of his 63rd birthday on February 26th at 1:30pm at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park. His family encourages donations in his name to the Sempervirens Fund.