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Hammer, Howard (d. 1957)

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Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1957 Feb 28 p. 3

Birth date:

text of obituary:

Missionary to Brazil, South America Dead


From Wooster Daily Record

Wooster, Ohio. — Word was received here this week by Rev. Rudy Stauffer, Orrville, president of the Amazon Valley Indian Mission Board, of the mental collapse and self-inflicted death of Missionary Howard Hammer of Araguasema, Goias, Brazil. The incident also involved the taking of the life of a native Brazilian.

Missionary Hammer, formerly of the Wooster community, was widely known as an amiable and mild mannered evangelist and speaker for the Hammer Tent Revival Campaigns. He organized the Amazon Valley Indian Mission Board in 1953. Rev. Hammer, with a crew of workers entered the Brazilian field two years ago and since early in 1956 have labored in the Goias area.

For some time the co-laborers of the missionary had noticed evidence of mental and nervous exhaustion and had suggested his return to the States for rest. The growing and rapidly expanding program made this seemingly impossible.

The limited data available to the board indicates that while in conversation with a local native, Mr. Hammer first shot the native and then himself.

Rev. Hammer came to this community from pastorates in Illinois and had retained his membership in the Mennonite Church in Wooster, of which Rev. Rudy Stauffer is bishop.

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Release by Mission Board

The Board of the Amazon Valley Indian Mission, in session at Grantsville, Md., issued the following release on Feb. 18:

"The workers at Araguasema, Goias, Brazil, have been laboring under heavy stress and strain which does exact its toll from the physical and mental system.

"Word has been received by telegram that Bro. Howard Hammer is dead by an act of his own hand and that in the tragic incident the life of a native was also taken. The information from the field indicates that the tragedy was the result of mental breakdown.

"We are pleading for special prayer and continued support for the workers on the field and the Board as it takes further steps."

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