113 years of Mukilteo family history

Dan Hammer named 2019 Pioneer of the Year
By Brandon Gustafson | Jul 31, 2019
Photo by: Beacon file photo Dan Hammer’s family history in Mukilteo dates back to 1906.

Did Dan Hammer, a lifelong resident of Mukilteo whose family history in the small town dates back more than 100 years, ever expect he’d be named the 2019 Pioneer of the Year by the Mukilteo Historical Society?

“No,” he said, laughing. “The news was quite a shock.”

Hammer learned recently his name was in consideration for the award, but he was still surprised to learn he was the 2019 recipient.

“The more I thought about it, with my family being from here, I was still very surprised,” he said. “I’m really flattered that the Historical Society would choose my family for this.”

Because of the award, Hammer decided to do more research into his family’s history.

Hammer’s great-grandparents settled in Mukilteo in 1906 after a brief stay in Whatcom County after moving to Washington from Michigan in 1904.

His grandmother, Hazel Hynes, grew up in Mukilteo and attended Rosehill School and graduated from Everett High School. She married an Italian immigrant named Frank Saponaro, who worked for the Crown Lumber Company after having served in World War I. The two had three kids, including Hammer’s mother, Jane.

Jane also attended Rosehill School and Everett High School and married Ray Hammer, whose family lived in the Bothell/Woodinville area. Ray Hammer’s family was initially from Norway.

Ray Hammer served in WWII, and then worked at the old Tank Farm in Mukilteo. Ray and Jane had two children, Dan and Janice, and the family lived in Old Town – first on Seventh and Washington, and later on Tenth and Loveland.

“I also had four cousins who were part of the community here, and all my aunts and uncles, along with my mom, went to school at Rosehill,” he said.

Hammer attended Fairmount Elementary for kindergarten, and then attended Rosehill Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and then Cascade High School.

“In a small community that’s tight-knit and everyone knew everyone and knew each other’s families, I really enjoyed it,” Hammer said.

He had summer jobs at the old Losvar Boathouse and Taylor’s Landing, and growing up, the population of Mukilteo was just over 700 people.

After graduating from Cascade in 1966, Hammer joined the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served until 1970. After wrapping up his service, he returned home to Mukilteo and applied for a job at the Mukilteo Water District. He started as a utility worker, and after just four years, he was named manager.

“I felt lucky to get a job at that point in time, and I learned a lot on the job,” Hammer said, “It was a good job and I was getting promoted, so I ended up staying here (in Mukilteo). One thing led to another, really.”

Hammer met his wife Mary Ann during their high school graduation ceremony, and got married in 1970. They first lived on 80thStreet Southwest, but moved to Goat Trail Road in 1974 where they still live. They have two sons, Morgan and Corbin, and also have four grandchildren.

Hammer enjoyed his time at the Water District, which he described as challenging and rewarding.

“We worked to preserve the public health of the community,” he said. “We built projects that have lasted, and will last, for a long time.”

During his time at the Water District, Hammer assisted with many projects, including the District’s new office on Mukilteo Speedway, as well as a merger with the Olympus Terrace Sewer District in 2007, which resulted in the Mukilteo Water District being named the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District.

While Hammer enjoyed his employment, he retired after 43 years in 2013, and has been enjoying his retirement.

“I like to stay at home,” he said. “We really like our house and we like to garden.”

Hammer also enjoys fishing, camping, and spending time with his family.

He reached out to his sister and his cousin about receiving the award, and the two were proud of the family, Hammer said.

“It’s really a great honor for our family to be selected as pioneers of the city,” Hammer said.

The Mukilteo Historical Society will honor Hammer at its Thursday, Aug. 8, meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is at Rosehill Community Center (304 Lincoln Ave).

Describing himself as an introvert, Hammer is a little nervous about the meeting, but he’s had lots of experience in the public meeting sector.

“With my old job, I’ve spent a lot of time at public meetings. This is just another one,” he said, smiling.



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