Edwin Ernest Hammond
May 4th, 1941 – November 9th 2022
Edwin Ernest Hammond, affectionately known as Ern or Ernie, passed away on November 9th 2022.
Born in Altoona, PA on May 4th 1941, he was the son of Ernest Wise Hammond and Helen June (Wolfe) Hammond. He attended Altoona High School and was a graduate of Penn State with a degree in mechanical engineering. He moved to King of Prussia to work at General Electric and later worked for Drexel Industries in Horsham PA for over 40 years until retirement, holding several patents for material handling equipment in both industrial and defense applications.
He was married to the late Joan M. Hammond for nearly 58 years until her passing in January of 2021. It was truly love at first sight when they met in 1962, and were married less than a year later. First residing in Bridgeport, they later moved to Audubon, where Ernie still resided in the family home. Together they raised four children and were devoted to their eight grandchildren. He was later thrilled to become a great-grandfather and enjoyed spending time with his great-granddaughter.
Ernie had many hobbies and passed his skills onto his children, grandchildren, and anyone else with an interest to learn. He played the guitar and built electric guitars, amplifiers, and effects for himself, his family, and other musicians. A true engineer at heart, he could never answer a simple question without giving an answer that was long, detailed, and accompanied by hand-drawn diagrams.
His skill as a woodworker was legendary and his home was filled with hand-built furniture and items that started out as rough logs or planks of wood. He also had a keen interest in history and genealogy and traced his family back over hundreds of years and many generations.
Ernie was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Joan Mary (Byus) Hammond.
He is survived by, and will be dearly and forever missed by his four children, Rebecca (Samuel), Paul (Michele), Jason (Nicole) and James, eight grandchildren, Samuel, Emily (Laura), Edward, Leslie, Madeline (Nicholas), Jacob, Cameron, and Cassandra, a great-granddaughter, Kassandra, his brother Jon (Judy), and sister Laurie (Russell). Services and interment will be private.
Thoughts from Becky:
My dad was always the smartest guy in the room. He is the smartest guy I've ever known. He knew about almost everything, either through education, work, or self-teaching, and was always happy to impart his knowledge.
He had an incredible work ethic. His work at Drexel Industries in Horsham required a long drive from Bridgeport, and then from Audubon where he and mom finally settled into a home where they raised our family. He made this drive for over 30 years until he retired.
He was a young dad, just 22 when he married and not quite 23 when I was born 11 months later. My three brothers followed soon after. It couldn't have been easy, but responsibility was something my dad took seriously. It's very rare to spend your whole career at one job, but he did, and never complained. He did everything he could to support our family, but still found time for his own pursuits. Did he ever sleep?
When I was interested in horseback riding, he and mom made it possible for for me to have a pony. He drove me back and forth to stables and lessons countless times. Weekend horse shows required waking up very early, but my dad would be up late polishing my bits and stirrups on his machines in the garage. My tack was always the shiniest.
He and mom took me to my first rock concert, Genesis. He was definitely cooler than all the other dads.
I cannot imagine the sacrifices they made for us. They supported us all in anything we were interested in - baseball, music, fishing, cars, baking, to name a few. School project? He was there to help. Need a ride somewhere? He was there. When the grandchildren needed something, it was the same. He was always there with driving lessons, fixing toys, helping to collect hobby items, or just with some sage advice.
He was incredibly devoted to and in love with his wife, our mom, Joan. Their story was literally the “across a crowded room, love at first sight” situation, and their love never dimmed over the years. In fact, it grew stronger. They did many things together, but had their own interests, and supported and loved each other through everything. They served as a great example of what a marriage could be.
My mom was the family gatekeeper, and it wasn't until after she passed last year that I became closer to my dad, as an adult.
I'm sad that we didn't have more time. Dad had so much knowledge and wisdom to give that it would have taken more than one lifetime for him to impart and for us to absorb. I hope he felt the love we have for him.
We can never thank him enough.
Rebecca Hammond High
From his son Paul:
Trying to describe Ernie Hammond’s life and legacy in a few paragraphs is next to impossible. His dedication and love for his family, as well as his pursuit of technical excellence, is what dreams are made of. His knowledge of electronic circuits and physics afforded him the ability to be an extremely capable design engineer at the company he worked for until he retired. His ability to troubleshoot and diagnose technical issues was second to none.
Beyond the scope of his amazing abilities was his humble nature. He was always the smartest and most brilliant man in the room, but would never let you know it until you needed help, then all bets were off. His willingness to share his knowledge was extraordinary, and he would never do so in a way that made you feel any lesser than him.
Ernie was also an inventor. His design work on the narrow aisle lift truck and multidirectional transport are still in use to this date. In his spare time he built fine furniture from raw hardwood, did extra design woodwork in the house, built electric guitars and amplifiers from the ground up, and worked on the family cars. If something wasn’t up to Ernie’s spec he would disassemble and redesign it, and make it better than the original.
Above all he loved his family and would always make sure we were all ok. Supporting all of his children and their hobbies, driving us to our extracurricular activities, working in the yard and garden with Mom, anything anybody needed, he was there for us.
One of my earliest memories of my Father was him at his work bench building a vacuum tube amplifier. As a young inquisitive child I would ask him the same questions over and over and he would patiently answer them. He ingrained in me an innate knowledge of electricity and electronic circuits that provided me with a lifetime of practical knowledge that I was able to apply in real world situations.
And then there was his love of music and all things guitar. Ernie loved the electric guitar and was there at the forefront of the technology. He built his first electric guitar in the late 1950s while he was still a teenager, and his last was built for me in 2021. Ernie taught me how to play guitar when I was eight years old. His guidance enabled me to teach myself the rock music of the day and play in a small family band in our living room. That’s how cool he was. He was thrilled when I wanted formal lessons and signed me right up. When the bands I played in became successful he wore it as a badge of honor.
As well as his dedication to his family, Ernie helped all of our friends and extended family, and was extremely generous with his time. If there was a problem or issue that I couldn’t solve or have the time to deal with, he was always the go to guy. Those of you who knew him and loved him, know that his passing is not only a deeply personal loss, but a loss to this world. Everything he touched was more beautiful afterwards. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, he taught me everything I know, and definitely set me on the right path. Thanks for everything Dad.
Paul Edwin Hammond
Edwin Ernest Hammond, my hero, my mentor, my dad. He was a pure perfectionist that instilled a lifetime of skills, thoughts, and most of all memories throughout my life and all lives he touched. An outstanding man in my mind that will live on in the people he has so gracefully touched. Dad, you made everyone you met better. You made me better. Love you.
Jason David Hammond.
The family would appreciate Memorial Donations, in lieu of flowers, on Ernie's behalf, to Montgomery County S.P.C.A., 19 E. Ridge Pike, Conshohocken, PA 19428, https://montgomerycountyspca.org/donate//. Arrangements are by The Bernard S. Gutkowski Funeral Home, Swedesburg, Upper Merion Twp., PA, Keith J. Murphy, F.D. 610-275-6385.
Montgomery County S.P.C.A.
19 E. Ridge Pike, PO Box 222, Conshohocken PA 19428