Dennis Dean Hammond

May 29, 1939 ~ January 14, 2021

Dennis Dean Hammond, 81, retired research historian, died on January 14, 2021 of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.  He had been ill for several years.  

He was born in Clear Lake, Iowa.  When he was a toddler, he moved to Rochester, Minnesota with his parents, Daniel and Caroline Hammond, and older sister Sharon.  He graduated from Rochester High School and attended Rochester Junior College.

In 1959 he enlisted in the United States Army.  After his basic training at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, he was transferred to the Nike Hercules base in Alaska, where he served until his honorable discharge in 1962.  

In 1966 he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota.  After that he did post-graduate studies at Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.   In 1969 he earned a Masters of Arts Degree from the U. of Minn.   During 1969 and 1970 he was a research assistant at the History of Medicine Library at the U. of Minn.  

Dennis was accepted at the University of California at Los Angeles in the PhD program, where he served as a research assistant.  In 1982 he was a summer fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.  He then returned to UCLA, becoming a teaching assistant in the history department.   He wrote his dissertation on Near Eastern and Byzantine history.  In March 1987, he graduated from UCLA with the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History.  He returned to Washington D.C. in the early 1990s, continuing research and writing at Dumbarton Oaks.   He traveled in several European countries.

In 1994 Dr. Hammond moved back to the family home in Rochester, Minn., when his older sister died.  He lived with his mother, being a comfort to her during her illness until she died.  He subsequently moved to Anchorage, Alaska and obtained a license to drive a cab. 

After the beginning of the new century, he put his car and his belongings on a barge to be sent to Nome, Alaska where he lived, drove a cab, played his horn and continued his interests in history.  After several years in Nome, he developed multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart, stroke and amputation of nine toes.  Due to a heart problem, in 2015 he was airlifted to an Anchorage Hospital, and he obtained a room at an assisted living home where he lived for a year.  Convinced that his health had improved, he traveled by plane to Los Angeles, intending to live near UCLA.  However, multiple comorbidities put a crimp in his plans, and he became a patient at the VA Hospital in L.A. for four months.   He acquired rooms at two different assisted living facilities, near his sister in Phoenix, Arizona, living in the second one until his death.

Dr. Hammond was never married.  To his friends and acquaintances he was known as Denny.

He is preceded in death by his mother, his father, and an older sister.  He is survived by two sisters, JoAnn Atkins of Plymouth, Minnesota and Diane Ross of Phoenix, Arizona, as well as several nephews and nieces. 

Funeral arrangements are currently pending.


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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