May 10, 1942 – September 1, 2011
On September 1, 2011 the Berlin Heritage Foundation lost an integral and vital member of our Board of Directors, one of our founding trustees, Edward Hammond. He was a dedicated proponent of our restoration efforts and an amazing source of information on our local history. All of us who were privileged to know and work with Ed miss his leadership and friendship. As a small memorial to him and his dedication to the Berlin Heritage Foundation and the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, we would like to share here his obituary, the story of his life in his own words.
Reprinted from The Daily Times, Saturday, September 3,2011, page A4
Edward Hopkins Hammond Jr.
BERLIN – Edward Hopkins Hammond Jr. died Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011.
Mr. Hammond proudly traced his ancestry to Mark Hammond, who migrated from England to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in 1634. Mark’s son, Edward Hammond, immigrated to Queponco in Somerset (now Worcester) County in 1677. In 1832, Elizabeth Victor Hammond, widow of Mark’s great-grandson, moved to Burley Manor in Berlin.
Mr. Hammond was, however, born in Atlanta, during World War II. His father, an attorney with the Justice Department, feared the Germans would bomb Washington, where the family then lived, so he sent his wife, Grace, to her parents, Judge and Mrs. Arthur Gray Powell of Atlanta. For that reason, Mr. Hammond was born in what later became right center field of Atlanta Stadium, then the location of the maternity wing of Piedmont Hospital. He joined his sister, Ann.
The family lived in Spring Valley, Washington, until 1945, when they moved home to Burley Manor. Mr. Hammond always insisted on the proper spelling of “Burley” as opposed to “Burleigh.”
Mr. Hammond spent a happy childhood in Berlin filled with activities such as Scouting, days on his father’s sailboat, Curlew, and attending St. Paul’s Sunday School. In 1955, he matriculated at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Del., from which he graduated in 1960, by his account with little academic distinction. While at St. Andrew’s he was an undefeated wrestler, winning silver and bronze medals in the state wrestling tournament. He was also selected to play in the Blue-Gold All-Star football game; however, he declined the offer in deference and preference to his dedication to his summer job of being a beach boy in Ocean City.
Having frittered away his academic career at St. Andrew’s, he was faced with going to, what he was told, was a less competitive college, the University of Georgia. After his arrival in Athens in the fall of 1960, he found that what he had heard about the University of Georgia was in fact true. He also found the Kappa Alpha Order, of which he became an ardent brother, and of which he served as athletic chairman.
His academic efforts at Georgia were much akin to those at St. Andrew’s until his junior year, at which time he realized that he had better do something, so he made the dean’s list and took the law school exam. He did extremely well and was admitted to the University of Georgia Law School after three years of college. After his first year of law school, he married his college sweetheart, Page Smoot, and made the decision to return to Berlin. After his second year, he transferred to the University of Maryland Law School in Baltimore, from which he graduated in 1966. He worked for the law firm of Marcus J. Williams and Joanne B. Johnson before entering the Army and serving the two year commitment that he acquired by accepting an ROTC commission in the Medical Service Corps.
While on active duty in the Army, he served as company commander of the patients at Brooke General Hospital in San Antonio commanding approximately 1,800 men. He loved to recount some of the interesting things that happened to him during that dark time at the height of the Vietnam War.
After being discharged from the Army, he rejoined Mr. Williams and Joanne Johnson and talked them into hiring his childhood friend, Joe Moore, who was getting out of law school (It didn’t take much talking). He then commenced to practice law, first in Berlin, then in 1972, in Ocean City. He was always with Mr. Williams’ firm, which later became Williams, Hammond, Moore, Shockley & Harrison, LLP, the largest law firm on the Eastern Shore. He practiced law for 32 years and liked to say that he did everything from adoptions to zoning. He did, however, eschew the courtroom, and liked to tease his more litigious colleagues by saying that if they went to court, it was because they lacked the ability to work out a compromise or prepare documents.
He served as part-time Worcester County Attorney from 1974-2002, at which time he retired from the law firm and became full-time county attorney. In his tenure, he helped bring the county into the 21st century. He and his close friend, the county administrator, the late John A. Yankus, wrote the first Code of Public Local Laws for Worcester County. He had a particular interest in zoning and some of his ideas, such as limiting the number of divisions of land in agricultural zones were held as landmark regulations and adopted in jurisdictions across the state. He often said that he only regretted that he was unable to use his influence to keep the county rural and maintain its true beauty.
He worked tirelessly for the improvement of the town of Berlin, and was a founding trustee on the Berlin Heritage Foundation. He spearheaded the restoration of the Calvin B. Taylor House. It was by his urging, through his personal efforts and his financial support, combined with that of many others, that the museum is what it is today.
He was baptised at St. Paul’s Church in Berlin from whence he was buried in his family plot with his parents, grandparents and great grandparents. He was confirmed at St. Paul’s and remained a communicant there until his death. He was superintendent of a very successful Sunday school program at St. Paul’s for 21 years.
He spent much time, effort and money with partners in restoring buildings in downtown Berlin including the Odd Fellows Building, the Ayres Building, the Conway Buiding, the Eagle Hotel and his crowning achievement, the Atlantic Hotel. He labored long and hard over his home place, Burley Manor, but unfortunately death took him before he could finish.
Despite having a lackluster academic record at St. Andrew’s, he was first elected by the Alumni as a Trustee of the school and later elected to the Board of Trustees. He served as a trustee of the school for 13 years, including positions as chairman of the Trusteeship committee, co-chairman of the Development Committee, member of the Building Committee, Land Use Committee and several ad-hoc committees.
All three of his children attended St. Andrew’s School and he very often said, “I would spend my last dime to send them there.” He loved the school like he loved his church. He often said whatever he was he owed A. Felix duPont for endowing St. Andrew’s and making it possible for him to go there.
In addition to his other civic activities, he served as president of the Furnacetown Foundation, trustee of Salisbury School, a member of the Governor’s Commission to Revise the Annotated Code of Maryland, Chairman of the Berlin Board of Zoning Appeals and Chairman of Berlin Planning Commission.
In addition to his wife and dearest friend with whom he shared 18 wonderful years, Elizabeth Lynch Hammond, he is survived by his son, Edward H. Hammond III; and daughter-in-law, Susana Pimiento Chamorra of Austin, Texas; and granddaughter, Amelia Maria Hammond; a daughter, Elizabeth Powell Hammond Pyle; a son-in-law, Russell Townsend Pyle; and grandsons, Charles Mc Alpin Pyle, Edward Hammond Pyle, Thomas Hammond Pyle, Duncan Jepson Pyle of Chestnut Hill, Mass.; a daughter, Sarah Page Hammond; son-in-law, Aaron Taverniti Kechley; granddaughter, Elizabeth Jane Hammond Kechley; his friend and former wife, Page Smoot Hammond of Salisbury; and very special cousin, Elizabeth Powell of Athens.
Mr. Hammond wrote his own obituary.
A service for the burial of the dead was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Church Street, Berlin, on Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 2 p.m. with burial following in the family plot in the churchyard.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to Saint Paul’s Church Endowment Fund and the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum.
Arrangements were in the care of Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin.