Often we find ourselves wondering, “what ever happened to . . .?”
People we have known, or known of, who move away - lose touch. It is just human nature to wonder from time to time what ever became of those we used to know.
The Chief received word this week of the passing of a hometown native, who left Broken Bow shortly after graduating from high school. He went on to do some pretty remarkable things in his life, and while it would have been preferred to report on his whereabouts while he was still living, it is worth noting in the event of his passing.
His name is John Eli Hammond. Jack, as he was known, graduated from Broken Bow High School in 1950, after an illustrious career playing football for the Indians as a fullback In 1952, Jack married his high school sweetheart, Joan Mohatt.
After attending a technical school in Kansas City, Mo., the family moved to Denver, Colo. where Jack worked for the Martin-Marietta Co. and he helped test the Atlas Ballistic Missile.
He and his family then moved to Houston, Texas, where he worked at NASA with a support team when the first manned space flight successfully was launched to the moon and safely returned. He was one of the first to shake the astronauts hands as they debarked into the quarantine facility at NASA.
After his work at NASA, he became a licensed electrician and worked out of the Electrical Union Local 716 where he helped build a 30-story hotel and also helped build a nuclear power plant, as well as hospitals, shopping malls, and other structures through-out the Houston area. He later became a real estate inspector for buyers of newly constructed and resale homes.
Life was not all work and no play. John loved his family, attended church regularly, held all the babies, attended kids games, danced with all the ladies (all of whom were beautiful), and helped countless charitable organizations including Girl Scouts, 4H, the Catholic church and Habitat for Humanity.
John and Joan also enjoyed traveling and were privileged to have visited Hawaii, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, and Scotland as well as many states in the United States. John also was an avid hunter (pheasants and deer), fisherman and camper.
In his last years Jack became an advocate for the disease that ravaged his body, and participated at the Baylor College of Medicine in experimental research to find a cure for Alzheimer's. His family describes him as “a stranger to no one.”
Jack leaves behind his wife of 59 years, and four daughters, as well as a sister, Angenette Adams-Denisia of Broken Bow, and a host of other family members.
See obituary page for Jack's obituary.