Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mr. Joe Hill Hammond

Joe Hill Hammond, 88, died Saturday at his home in Mentone, AL.  Born October 18, 1926 in the Chelsea Community, north of Menlo, GA, he was the youngest and last surviving of nine children of George Harrison Hammond and Ella Strickland Hammond.  And like his father, who was one of sixteen children born to Josephine Mills and Valentine Hammond, he had lived most of his life in Chattooga County.  His Great Grandfather, a Confederate soldier, Joseph Lafayette Hammond, had been killed in 1864 by the notorious Captain John Gatewood and his Raiders.  His wife of sixty years, Hannah Money Hammond, died earlier.  They were members of the First Methodist Church.  As a young boy in Summerville, he delivered newspapers around town on his bicycle.  He often told the story of the Sunday morning in 1937 when he saw smoke and fire coming from the First Baptist Church and rode to tell the police about it. In 1943, as a seventeen-year-old, he left his job at the Glen Pless Café and joined the Army.  From Fort McPherson in Atlanta he and the other “rookies” were promptly taken to Fort Knox, KY to become part of a newly activated company, the 841st Ordnance Depot, eventually under the 3rd Army’s command.  After six months of training, they were transported to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and then boarded a ship for England.  As a supply depot company they crossed over to France at Utah Beach fifty-six days after D-Day, following those fighting on the front, and supporting many Infantry and Armored Divisions.  Some activities included the famed Red Ball Express cargo and supply service throughout France, Luxemburg, and Germany.  After WWII ended he and his wife established Hammond Flowers, the first florist in Summerville.  Later, a partnership formed Hammond-Duff Florists, expanding that business to three locations.  This was followed by local retail business ventures with Goodyear tires, GE appliances, ski boats and motors, and finally as an automobile dealer, from which he retired. 
Surviving is his son, Dan Hammond, and partner, Bob Simmons, of Mentone, AL; several nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be held at 1 pm, Saturday, March 28, at Summerville Cemetery, with David McCarrell and Rev. Mike Penson officiating

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home in charge.

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