In Memory of David C. Hamme
January 19, 2023
David Codrington Hamme passed away on Sunday, November 6, 2022, surrounded by his loving family after a battle with an extended illness. David was born in York, Pennsylvania on October 8, 1931. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Gettysburg College in 1953 with honors in mathematics. After college, he served in the U.S. Army infantry and later the armored cavalry from which he was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. David earned a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, becoming the third generation architect in the Hamme family. He left the family business in York to take a position in the Philadelphia Planning Commission. It was there that the connection between his lifelong love of the city and his professional life began. It was also there that he met his loving partner of 58 years, Hannelore Brey, who offered companionship and guidance on their many joint adventures.
David Hamme’s professional life spans more than 50 years as an architect, professional planner, and educator. He specialized in strategic and physical planning and urban design. As the managing partner of Wallace, Roberts, & Todd (WRT) in Philadelphia and its 5 satellite offices across the country, he oversaw large scale urban design and planning projects in the U.S. and overseas, including the first development plan for the state of New Jersey, plans for the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay region, the Pennsylvania Schuylkill River Valley, National Heritage Area Plan, the Orlando Regional Plan, the Capital Plan for Abuja in Nigeria, and the Heritage Area Plan of Annapolis. David was project director of the master plan for development of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor project and remained involved with Inner Harbor planning and implementation for the next 15 years. This groundbreaking work demonstrated the effectiveness of reclaiming urban industrial waterfronts for reinvestment and public use and of the ability of older cities to reinvent their downtowns as vital and relevant centers of urban life.
In addition, David was committed to teaching. He served as a long-time adjunct professor of urban planning and design in the Architecture Program at Drexel University and graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as department chair at Drexel where he was recognized for his teaching excellence with the Stanley Gwiazda Award in 2012. Finally, David was deeply passionate about preserving historic Germantown in Philadelphia. He volunteered his time there, serving on the board of the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion and Rittenhouse Town, and working tirelessly with the neighborhood associations for Germantown’s revitalization.
A true renaissance man, he shared his interest in wine, classical music, travel, rococo, and art with the people in his life. As a professor, he enlivened his classes by pairing planning instruction with tips on the selection of fine wine. His travels to Europe informed the concepts of civic values in construction of the urban environment which formed the basis of his lectures. As a result of his lessons, his students are leaving America’s towns and cities as better places to live.
An avid sailor, David often pressed one and all to serve as racing crew on the Chesapeake Bay. New acquaintances, including students and candidates for employment, were always asked “Do you sail?” Cookies and fine libations were used to mobilize the competitive spirit of the team as they harnessed the wind to victory over their esteemed challengers.
He will be remembered for his majestic eyebrows, gentle heart, earth shattering sneezes, and a sly, slightly naughty sense of humor. He is survived by his wife, Hanne; his son and daughter-in-law Peter and Tara Hamme; his daughter and son-in-law, Christina (Hamme) and Nelson Andrew Peterson; and his six grandsons: Connor, Ryan and Dylan Hamme; and Thomas, Jakob and Leif Peterson.
A celebration of life will be held on January 28, 2023, in the social room of the Philadelphian at 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. Guests and family will be received at 1:00pm with a celebration of life to start at 1:30.
Donations in his name can be made to Drexel University’s Department of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism via this link or to the John Alfred Hamme Scholarship at Gettysburg College via this link.