Brian Jon Hammer, a runner of marathons, a long-distance walker and a longtime, dedicated compliance specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, died Saturday. He was 52.
"Brian cared about the department's mission," said George Jugovic Jr., chief counsel for the environmental organization Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future and former director of the DEP's southwest regional office. "He was very bright. He believed in protecting the environment and the role he played in that on behalf of the department.
Mr. Hammer, who lived in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, was a DEP employee for 24 years in the southwest regional office, now located on Washington's Landing. He worked as a compliance specialist in the Clean Water, Air Quality and Radiation Protection programs.
"He had one of the most difficult jobs we have here, dealing with compliance issues and permittees," said John Poister, a DEP spokesman. "It can be a contentious job at times, and I'm told he was very good at it. He was detail-oriented, a stickler for details, and that was one of his attributes."
Mr. Hammer was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Germany and was a graduate of Penn State University. He received a master's degree in environmental management from Duquesne University.
Mr. Poister said Mr. Hammer was a "dedicated family man" and very "health-oriented," walking on the trail around Washington's Landing, an island in the Allegheny River, nearly every day.
Mr. Hammer ran in two Pittsburgh Marathons, and hiked in the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge -- a 34-mile-long, one-day, sunrise-to-sunset endurance hike that ends in North Park -- several times. He also competed for three years in a row in the Baker Trail UltraChallenge, a 50-mile footrace.
Mr. Hammer is survived by his wife, Jeannine Marie; daughters Madison Marie and Fallon Paige; his mother, Gilda Marie; a brother, James Hammer; and a sister, Cynthia Rubolina.
A burial Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at St. Barbara's Parish, Harrison City. Interment will be private.
The family directs contributions to the Humane Society of Westmoreland County, Route 119, Greensburg, PA 15601.
Don Hopey: email@example.com or 412-263-1983.