Monday, June 18, 2018

Dr. Phil Hamman

Dr. Phil Hamman was a consummate teacher with a gift of
making dry subjects interesting. He trained many of the previous
generation of pest control professionals in Texas, and is still
remembered by more than a few of today's senior PMPs.
Last month Texas pest control lost a great friend. Dr. Phillip J. Hamman passed away May 31 in Kerrville, TX.

You may know Dr. Hamman's name from the Phillip J. Hamman Termite Training School in College Station. It was Phil's vision to establish a hands-on training facility near the A&M campus to provide a first class training venue for termite technicians around the state.

I owe my career here at Texas A&M AgriLife to Phil Hamman, who hired me in 1989, and served as my Associate Department Head of Extension until his retirement in 1996. He served on the then Texas Structural Pest Control Board for more than 20 years, and was in large part responsible for the current system of CEU requirements that ensure that PMPs keep up with the latest in pest control technology. He played an important role in making sure that Texas licensed only qualified people to handle pesticides and provide the best pest control service possible.

Phil was part of an earlier generation of extension entomologists who covered all aspects of pest control, including cotton, sorghum, rice and peanut insects. At the time he was also expected to cover pests of livestock, fruit and nuts, stored products, and households. He started his career as an Assistant Entomologist in 1964, and worked for Extension for ten years before being hired as Technical Director of the then National Pest Control Association. After a little over two years at NPCA Phil returned to Texas determined to focus on urban entomology. In 1981 he officially became the first Extension Urban Entomologist in Texas.  He served as department head for Extension from 1985 until his retirement in 1996.

Phil was fond of remembering how Clayton Wright, a Texas pest control legend and founder of B&G Chemical and Equipment Company (now part of Target Specialty Products), took him around the state in his car early in his career. According to Phil, the trip was a ride on the wild side (friends of Wright can probably guess what that meant), but it introduced him to pest control owners and operators around the state, and taught him a lot about the pest control industry.

For many years Phil was also the organizer of the Texas A&M University Urban Pest Management Conference and Workshop (now in its 73rd year).  His goal was to maintain first class training that included university researchers, giving Texas PMPs access to the latest information on the science of structural pests.

Above all, Phil Hamman was a gentleman with a good sense of humor, committed to those who worked for him. He cared deeply about the pest control industry and giving back to his community.

After retirement, Phil and his wife Pat moved to the hill country, first in Leakey, Texas and then in
to Hunt, and finally Kerrville, Texas. He was a woodworker and built many things for his home and for others. Phil and Pat have been very active in the Episcopalian church throughout life, and were involved with the Big Springs Ranch for Children, and the Hill Country Youth Ranch in Ingram. Phil served as School Board Member and on the HCYR Board for more than 20 years.

According to his obituary, Phil is survived by his wife, Pat; sister, Linda Donnell and her children, Deborah, Missy and Douglas; son, John Philip Hamman and wife Susan Reesby and granddaughter, Sarah-Margaret; daughter, Marion La Rue Hamman Starbuck, husband, Robbie and granddaughter, Keely. He is also survived by a step-son, Chris George Chapin; step-daughter, Martina Ann Thurneysen and husband David, granddaughters, Stephanie and Tricia and her husband John Jenkins; stepdaughter, Marian Katherine Williams, husband Jeffrey and grandson, George Anthony. 

A Memorial for Phil is scheduled at 2 o’clock p.m., Saturday, July 7, 2018 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. More information is available from Grimes Funeral Homes. In lieu of flowers Phil requested memorials to be sent to the Hill Country Youth Ranch in Ingram, Texas, or Center for Urban and Structural Entomology Fund.

We will miss you Phil.

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