Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Samuel Wade Hagerman ’88

February 28, 2021, in Portland, after a long illness.

Sam was born in Billings, Montana, and spent a significant part of his childhood at “the cabin” on the East Rosebud River. He loved visiting the ranch near Wyola, Montana, learning about livestock and life from his uncle Bud. From his uncle Jick, who owned and ran Chief Mountain Services, he learned about business.

From first grade on, Sam excelled in school, and when he began playing saxophone in fourth grade, he excelled at that too. In high school, he participated in an international student exchange program in Kenya. 

Sam’s time at Reed was a seminal experience and provided a bedrock of friends with whom he was connected for the rest of his life. During his sophomore year, he started playing sax with bassist Steve Lew ’89, drummer Yorck Franken ’91, and guitarist/vocalist Kermit Rosen ’91. Together with manager Matt Karlsen ’88 they formed the band Slack, which toured the United States and made two albums, Bigger than Breakfast and Deep Like Space.

After Reed, Sam cofounded Hammer & Hand, an innovative Northwest construction firm, with classmate Daniel Thomas ’89. They built a highly respected company which became a leader in green/sustainable, net-zero, and passive house construction. He mentored his employees to become consummate professionals who continue to build the legacy that Sam envisioned. 

He was elected the first president of the Passive House Alliance United States. Under his leadership, Hammer & Hand earned many awards, including a 2015 Housing Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Utilizing historic building science, he was honored to work on a commission for the royal family of Bhutan, building a law library and college.

While building his company, gathering awards, raising his son, and geeking out on construction technology, he enjoyed pursuits such as beehives, saxophones, remodeling, saunas, pickling, Halloween, koi, lunar eclipses, rooftop gardens, and fishing. Sam loved to travel to Hawaii, the Oregon coast, Costa Rica, and California, and while in Europe and Asia, he participated in international building science events. In 2008, Sam conquered non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He is survived by his son, Dexter Hagerman, Dexter’s wife Cassandra, and their baby daughter Isabella Renee Hagerman, as well as a large extended family and an even larger group of friends worldwide.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2021

comments powered by Disqus