Kevin Hammond, our beloved father, husband, and friend, passed away peacefully at his home in Missoula on May 29, 2019. Surrounded by those who love him, Kevin graciously went into that good night.
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He was deeply rooted in Missoula, born on May 3, 1947 to George and Marie (Small) Hammond. The fourth oldest, Kevin had six brothers and one sister. There were endless stories to tell about growing up. For example, even though Kevin was right-handed, he learned to eat with his left hand. With the whole family crowded at the dinner table, it was his left side which was free!
While attending Carroll College, Kevin met the love of his life, Jody (Sturm). They were married on August 12, 1972, and would have celebrated 47 years of marriage this year. Their love and respect for one another was unwavering. They made a good team, from gardening and pickling vegetables, to raising their three children, to caring for one another while each went through their own fight with cancer. They were both educators in the school system and lifelong advocates for embracing and teaching tolerance.
Kevin began his teaching career at Hellgate High School in 1971 and then moved to Big Sky High School in 1980 where he taught government, U.S. History, and politics. He was a mentor to countless students during his career, and many remained in contact with him years after graduating. It was our joke that only Kevin could run into someone he knew everywhere he went. Even while on vacation out-of-state, he ran into a former student! He loved connecting to people and could talk to anyone. For Kevin, the well-being of others was a top priority.
He loved his family and friends beyond measure, and his self-discipline was exemplary. If there was a shared activity that involved being under the beautiful big sky or sharing a meal, Kevin expressed his joy with a heartfelt, “Life is good!” He was an avid reader always in search of truth, and took pride in maintaining his lawn, garden, and wood shop – where he could be found repairing or creating something. He learned to play Bocce Ball and Dominos, and was always up for a game of Cribbage.
Kevin will be remembered by his strong work ethic and unflinching morals. Those closest to him appreciated his quirky sense of humor. Even while undergoing treatment, Kevin still found a way to be the light in the room. When his hair fell out, he wore a full wig of hair with a long beard and said that treatment was working too well! He helped us find humor in any situation even until his last hour.
He was preceded in death by parents George and Marie; brothers Mike and Joe. He is survived by his wife Jody; children Nick, Nate, Jesse (Scott); sister Mary (Gerry); brothers Pat (Faye), Dennis (Donna), Jim (Cyndie), Tim (Kathy); sisters-in-law Vicky, Karen, Marianne, Loretta; many nieces and nephews; and one great-nephew named in his honor, Erik Kevin.
Our family would like to thank Consumer Direct Care Network Montana for the incredible hospice care Kevin received, especially Judy, whose kindness and compassion are unparalleled and who was an immense source of comfort; the generous and loving Spirit of Peace Community, the Cremation Burial Society of the Rockies; Drs. Kress and Linford and all the amazing staff who have helped along the way; and to the steadfast friends and family who remained by Kevin’s side until the end and continue to offer their love and support.
Kevin did not wish to have a memorial service, and instead wanted a great party to celebrate his life with kegs of beer and lots of laughter and memories. Please join us on Saturday, June 29 from 1-4 pm at the Bella Vista Pavilion in Fort Missoula for Kevin’s last hurrah.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Spirit of Peace, Missoula Food Bank, or Consumer Direct Care. To honor Kevin, write to your congressmen about any issue you believe in, get involved in forming a more perfect union, and VOTE! Peace and love.