F. Burton Hammann Jr., retired owner of the Hammann Music Co. and co-founder of a society dance band, died Oct. 11 of complications after surgery at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 87.
Known as Burt, he retired in 1965 as vice president of the #F family-owned firm that was established in 1921 by his father, Frederick B. Hammann, a banjo player and musical instrument dealer.
The store at 206 N. Liberty St. in Baltimore sold instruments, records and sheet music.
He and his brothers, C. Gordon Hammann and R. Warren Hammann, took over the business after their father's death in 1948.
In 1952, they got a Hammond organ franchise, and the downtown store and branch stores in Towson Plaza and Security Square Mall were known for the impromptu organ concerts that were performed by representatives of the organ company.
"Everybody headed for Hammann's on Saturday afternoon to sit in the booths and listen to the latest Big Band 78s," said his wife, the former Grace Alban, whom he married in 1939.
In 1970, C. Gordon Hammann purchased the interests held by his brothers and operated the business with his son. Hammann's closed its Liberty Street store in 1983 and concentrated its operations in its suburban stores, which closed in the late 1980s.
In the early 1930s, Burt Hammann, a bass fiddle player, and C. Gordon Hammann, who played the saxophone, started the Townsmen, a popular dance band. The band, which is remembered for its theme song, "If It's True," disbanded in the 1940s.
"They played all the deb parties, cotillions and even the Mount Washington casino. They were well-known throughout Baltimore during those years," Mrs. Hammann said.
Born and reared in Baltimore, Burt Hammann was a 1925 graduate of City College. After graduating from Strayer Business College, he went to work for his father.
During World War II, he served in the Navy aboard destroyers in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He survived the sinking of the destroyer escort USS Ward in 1944 and was discharged in 1945 with the rank of seaman first class.
He was a resident of Baltimore and had a winter home in Palm Beach, Fla.
A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Friday in the chapel at Henry W. Jenkins & Sons Funeral Home, 4905 York Road, Baltimore.
Other survivors include a son, Frederick B. Hammann III of Potomac; a brother, R. Warren Hammann of Ruxton; and two granddaughters.
Memorial donations may be made to Union Memorial Hospital, 201 E. University Parkway, Baltimore 21218.