James H. Hammond
James Herschel "Jim" Hammond of Minneapolis, MN, formerly of Valdosta, GA, died unexpectedly Wednesday, May 27 while vacationing at Destin, FL. Mr. Hammond was 95 years old, born in Logan County, Kentucky, April 5, 1914 to Dr. Herschel Lyon Hammond and Jimmie Bradshaw Hammond. On December 31, 1939 he married Mary Carey Willis, his wife for over 66 years, until her death March 10, 2006. He was a veteran of the United States Navy.
Mr. Hammond was a 12th generation American, descendent of Magna Carta signer, Richard De Clare. His family was early settlers of Maryland, moving as pioneers to Kentucky. He was a faithful member of Living Word Christian Center, Minneapolis, and was a member of The Sons of the American Revolution, American Legion Post 13, and a former member of the Valdosta Rotary Club and Valdosta Men's Garden Club.
He was a graduate of Middleton High School in Franklin, Kentucky, where he was an active 4-H Club member. After high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and during his service received a coveted enlisted man's appointment to the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis. He left the academy during his sophomore year and accepted employment with General Mills, becoming their office manager in Atlanta. Immediately after December 7, 1941, he volunteered his service to his country and was appointed Naval Chief Petty Officer, managing the office of the Naval Aviation Cadet Selection Board, in Atlanta.
Upon his discharge from the Navy, Mr. Hammond accepted employment with Delta Airlines as Personnel and Ticket Sales Administrator, in Atlanta and Charleston, SC. The next move in his career in sales was with Allstate Insurance Company, where he became the Southeastern Sales Manager in Roanoke, Virginia. Retiring from Allstate, he joined his son in operating Meridian Air Cargo in Meridian, Mississippi. His second retirement brought him and his wife to Valdosta, where they lived happily for 27 years. They then moved to Minneapolis in order to be nearer to their son and grandchildren.
While in Valdosta he owned and operated Wings Pet Shop. Again retiring, they lived in Valdosta at Langdale Place retirement home where he planted and maintained a personal flower garden for all the residents. Looking for a new interest at age 85, he began training as a short distance runner. He successfully competed in the Georgia and Minnesota Senior Olympic Games from 2001 to 2008. In the National Olympic Games, he won a silver medal in 2003; a silver and two gold medals in 2005; and at age 93, in 2007 at Louisville, Kentucky won a silver and five gold medals. He was proudly featured in Readers Digest; several senior fitness magazines; and an ESPN sports documentary.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, brothers, Boyd and George, and sisters, Laura, Evelyn, Janette, and Nancy.
His survivors include son, James McBryde "Mac" Hammond and wife, Lynne, grandsons, James McBryde Hammond, Jr., and wife, Kristin, John Graves Hammond and wife, Beckey, granddaughter Lucy Hart Minton and husband, Micheal, and six great-grandchildren, all of Minneapolis. He is also survived by numerous beloved nieces and nephews, and his brother-in-law, J. Edward Willis and wife, Jane of Valdosta.
Services will be held at 11 A.M. Monday, June 1, 2009, in the chapel of Carson McLane Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Riverview Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 p.m. on Sunday evening at the funeral home. Flowers will be accepted or donations may be made to the National Senior Olympics, 8919 World Ministry Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 or the charity of your choice. Condolences to the family may be conveyed on the obituary page at www.mclanefuneralservices.com Carson McLane Funeral Home.
Carson McLane Funeral Home
2215 North Patterson Street