SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer died Saturday evening at the age of 81.
Hammer passed away at home, surrounded by loved ones.
Mayor Hammer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease several years ago, and it progressed rapidly over the past months. She is survived by husband Phil, her three children Bo, Hali and Matt, their spouses and six grandchildren.
Her son, Matt, provided a statement Sunday on behalf of the Hammer family.
“We are heartbroken at mom’s passing and feel so grateful for her boundless love for her family. She was our model of living a life of compassion and devotion to community,” he said.
After years of community service, Hammer was elected to the San Jose City COuncil from 1983 to 1990. She became San Jose’s 62nd mayor in 1990 and served two terms from 1991 to 1998.
Hammer really turned her focus on inclusiveness and equity, youth and education, arts and culture, the environment and economic development.
Some of her most notable achievements include creating Project Diversity, San Jose Conservation Corps, youth homework centers, City Year in San Jose, Mayor’s Gang Task Force and Greenline Initiative, building the Mexican Heritage PLaza, the San Jose Repertory Theatre, the Martin Luther King Library in partnership with San Jose State and San Jose Arena, along with bringing Cisco and Adobe to San Jose.
“Susan said in her farewell speech in 1998 that she wanted to be thought of as a builder of community, a mayor who put families first, championed the potential of people, fostered social action and changed the face of the city by nurturing its spirit,” Blanca Alvarado, former Vice Mayor of San Jose and one of Susan’s longtime friends said. “I can’t think of a better way to honor Mayor Hammer than to remember her in this way.”
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