Charles Willis "Bill" Hammond Sr., the retired longtime executive vice president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, died Sept. 1 at Gilchrist Hospice Care of complications from a fall he suffered last month. The former Roland Park resident was 92.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Oak Hill Avenue, he grew up near Green Mount Cemetery. Family members said that as a child he would scale the cemetery wall and play football with neighborhood friends, including Garry Moore, who later became a CBS television game show host, and Joseph Thomas Mardaga, who became Roman Catholic bishop of Wilmington, Del.
Mr. Hammond was a 1936 City College graduate and attended Gettysburg College. During World War II, he served in the Army's Air Forces as a combat intelligence officer in England. He interviewed bomber crews who flew over Europe to record their observations of military conditions. He remained in the Army Reserves and left military service as a major in 1958.
After the war, he considered taking a job with the United Press, but instead became secretary at the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, where he remained until retiring in 1981. He edited its publication, the Baltimore Real Estate News, and was the board's executive vice president for 28 years.
"He was thoroughly professional and a champion of ethics in real estate," said Richard J. Roszel, a Realtor who knew Mr. Hammond for more than four decades.
As the top official in the real estate trade organization, he spent a day a week in Annapolis and kept a table at the old Carvel Hall Hotel, where he met legislators and elected officials.
"He was a close friend of Governors McKeldin, Tawes, Hughes and Schaefer," said his son, Charles W. Hammond of Fort Myers, Fla. "He was also close to both Mayors D'Alesandro, Philip Goodman and Harold Grady."
Family members said Mr. Hammond never held a real estate sales license. He also preferred to take the No. 61 Lake Avenue bus to and from work. On board, he conversed with a regular group of friends.
"Bill was an absolutely wonderful leader of our real estate board," said James P. O'Conor, former chair of O'Conor Piper and Flynn. "He was learned, incisive and particular in everything he did."
During his tenure, he oversaw the organization's move from East Lexington Street to Mount Royal Avenue. He also worked to computerize the Multiple Listing Service, wherein properties for sale are widely promoted throughout the industry.
"Bill was a serious, conscientious and caring individual," said James E. Matthews, a friend who was a past president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors. "He helped bring professional leadership to our organization."
Mr. Hammond defended his industry during period of racial tension in the 1960s and 1970s. News accounts said that about 50 disgruntled Northeast Baltimore residents once appeared at his home to complain that their area was not being effectively promoted by the real estate industry.
"My father was a huge defender of the city of Baltimore, Annapolis and the state of Maryland in general," his son said. "He was not a man of compromise. He was the type who had high standards and would say, 'This is how I want it done.'"
After retiring from his real estate work, he joined Roeder Travel and made numerous trips to England and enjoyed dog-sledding in Alaska. He was also an avid tennis player.
Mr. Hammond enjoyed cooking and served Yorkshire pudding and standing rib roast of beef, a dish he observed being made in a London tavern. He also served kidney stew over waffles and baked fresh coconut cakes.
Mr. Hammond had been a member of the Baltimore City Commission on the Problems of the Aging, a panel that recommended establishment of the Waxter Center.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 22 at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Charles and Saratoga streets, where he had been an active member, captain of its usher team and a Eucharistic minister.
In addition to his son, survivors include a daughter, Martha Hendry Rowlett; and four grandchildren. A daughter, Julia Cannen Hammond, died in 2009. His wife of 21 years, Edna Sue Hendry, died in 1966. He was divorced in 1974 from Julie Shaw McCollogh. He then married Nancy C. Quinn, who died in 1988.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun