Jacobus Adriaan Hammer always referred to his job as playing, not working.
Hammer, surrounded by his family, died Friday in his Clarence home after a long illness. He was 72.
Born in the Netherlands, Hammer grew up amid the horrors of World War II. He saw his family home destroyed by flames and his father die in a concentration camp. A few weeks after graduating from high school, Hammer was transported to Germany and forced to help repair bombed railroads.
In 1952, Hammer received the highest degree possible in electrical engineering from the University at Delft in the Netherlands and, after his marriage, worked at the Radar Research Station in Noordwijk. It was there that he designed and built one of the world's first frequency-analysis computers.
He moved to the United States in 1961 and went to work at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories in Buffalo and later, Litton Industries in Washington, D.C. He later worked as a research scientist on satellite antennas for the European Space Agency. He retired in 1992 after 17 years there.
A family man, Hammer also enjoyed windsurfing, scuba diving and badminton.
After his retirement, he and his wife of 46 years, Janny, moved back to the United States and settled in Ithaca, where he earned the titles of honorary master gardener and master composter from the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
He also spent time inventing and perfecting home and garden tools to help his wife, who has rheumatoid arthritis.
Survivors besides his wife include two daughters, Evelien Hartz of Clarence and Marjolein Velders of Lelystad, the Netherlands; a son, Vincent Hammer, of New Haven, Conn.; a brother, Albert of Ottawa; and seven grandchildren.
Services will be held at 4:30 p.m. today in Dietrich Funeral Home, 2480 Kensington Ave., Amherst.