Edward Lammer
1953 - 2016
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Edward Lammer

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.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27, 2016.
Celebration of Life
01:30 PM
Brazilian Room in Tilden Park
Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
March 20, 2017
This is a late message.
I am so blessed to have met this wonderful man. He came to Scotland and helped myself and my daughter who was born while I had roacutane in early pregnancy.
Through this man my daughter doesn't have to worry about her future. God bless
Nicole kirk Scotland
Nicole Kirk
March 3, 2016
Ed and I were roommates freshman and sophomore years at Washington University. I remember those years fondly and I am not surprised to learn of his devotion to his family and to medicine. He was always thoughtful and considerate - and remarkably patient with his VERY messy roommate.
Tyler Donaldson
February 27, 2016
My condolences to the entire Lammer family.
I was a classmate of Ed's from our Washington University days and colleague as a fellow physician in the Bay area.
He was big in stature, personality and a gifted researcher.
He will be greatly missed.
Joel Piser
February 27, 2016
I worked as a social worker with Ed at Childrens' Craniofacial Department when he was Medical Director. I am so sad to hear of his passing. I remember him fondly and his gentle soul. He helped so many families understand their children's complex problems with compassion, wisdom and a big heart. My condolences to his family.
John Luna-Sparks
February 26, 2016
I was sad to hear this and extend my condolences to his family. I went to grade school with Ed. From his choices in life it is clear what an amazing spirit he was.
Ann Bodnar-Donovan
February 26, 2016
I met Ed in the early 90s at UIowa. Over the years, we collaborated on a number of cleft-related projects. Ed was a lovely human being. You wanted to work with him, in part, just to be around him.
Brian Schutte
February 25, 2016
I knew Ed as a very kind man, a brilliant scientist/physician, a champion for the underdog and under appreciated, and a resolute non-conformist. I was sad to hear he was retiring but his incomprehensible passing is a great loss to all of us. My sincere sympathy to Ed's family for their loss of this wonderful man.
Greg Moe
February 25, 2016
condolences to all family and friends, for a life well-lived - especially touched by the remarks about a non-judgmental temperament and compassionate orientation to life, the report of which rings true to the man. - JGoodmann, Sewanee, TN
James Goodmann
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