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Andrew and Margaret Hammerl, victims in Niagara County collision

Andrew J. Hammerl

July 19, 1933 -- July 23, 2017

Margaret A. Hammerl

Oct. 5, 1934 -- July 23, 2017

It was all about family when Andrew J. and Margaret A. Hammerl, former Buffalo residents, recently drove back to the area from their home in Stamford, Conn.

They came to visit Mary Ruth Haberman, Margaret's sister-in-law, who was struggling with the death of her husband, Arthur, in February.

Arthur would have turned 79 on July 23, so the three planned a get-together as a show of support. They went to Mass in the morning with other family members, gathered for brunch and visited a Haberman family cottage.  It was on the way back from what relatives described as a most wonderful day, that tragedy struck.

All three were killed in a car-truck collision at the intersection of Quaker and Ridge roads near Gasport in Niagara County. Margaret, 82, was driving their Toyota Camry; Mary Ruth, 77, of Eggertsville, was in the passenger seat; and Andrew, 84, sat in the back, when collision with a Dodge Ram occurred shortly after 7 p.m. The Hammerls were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Haberman died the next day in a hospital.

Both of the Hammerls were born in Buffalo.

Paul, their son, described them as outgoing people who always enjoyed exploring new places and meeting new people.

Andy and Peg, as friends and family knew them, were living in Stamford, but always remained passionate Buffalo fans. They met in college. He attended Canisius College, Class of 1955, and she went to D'Youville College, Class of 1956. They were married at St. James Church in 1958, and always seemed right together.

"As sad as the situation is, we're comforted by the fact that they went together. They were so close, you couldn't imagine one without the other," Paul said.

Andy, who also earned a master's in business administration from Fordham University, worked as an executive for Occidental Petroleum Corp., Avon Products Inc., and the State of Connecticut. His specialty was economic development and, with Occidental especially, he traveled the world for business.

Peg, who went on to earn a master's in religious education from Fairfield University,  taught English at Riverside High School and Nardin Academy, and was director of religious education at St. Gregory the Great Church in Williamsville.

The couple lived in Kenmore and then Snyder, but moved to Stamford when Andy began working for Occidental. They lived in Williamsville from 1977 to 1984, when his work brought him back to the area, but they then moved once again to Connecticut.

Volunteerism, charity and faith were big parts of their lives wherever the Hammerls lived. In the early years of their marriage, Andy and Peg were active in the Sodality at Canisius College. Later they joined Teams of Our Lady, making lifelong friends and enriching their faith.

In Connecticut, Andy volunteered at the Soup Kitchen and Peg taught for 20 years at Literacy Volunteers in Stamford. Together they were active members of St. Maurice Church, serving as lectors and Eucharistic ministers. Peg was invited to become an Associate of the Congregation of Notre Dame, an honor that exemplified her faith.

"My parents lived life well. They saw the best in people, and liked to work closely in their communities," said their daughter Mary Elizabeth Brennan.

She talked about how her parents wanted to celebrate Arthur Haberman's life on their visit.

"I wasn't there when they all went to Mass and brunch, but talked to relatives who were," said Brennan, who lives in Atlanta. "Everyone was telling stories. It was just a memorably great day."

One aspect of her parents' personalities that sticks with Brennan is that they were both great, caring listeners.

"They would be in conversation with someone, and the next time they met, they were able to remember what the other person talked about and ask about it. It was kind of remarkable," she said.

Survivors also include five grandchildren, and two great-children.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Gregory the Great Church, Maple Road. Interment will follow in Mount Calvary Cemetery.

Mary Ruth Haberman, 77, neurological technician and volunteer

 

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