Ed Hammer

My wife’s grandfather passed away yesterday at the age of 93.  To say “suddenly” indicates that he was not suffering any terminal illness but it belies the idea of being at an advanced age.

Among the many jobs he had in his life was a lathe operator, that is to say a machinist,  at Boeing here in Wichita, KS and for a time in Seattle, WA.  It is a job that is slowly disappearing from this country.  Men skilled at setting up a complex machine to create parts from scratch.  Ed had gone within the last year to an event in town where such tools were being demonstrated.  They were efficient but also computerized.  A man simply had to push a button.  That hardly seems worthy of praise.

He worked at manufacturing aircraft during the Second World War.  He told stories of horse-drawn carriages conveying ice, sleeping along the banks of the Arkansas River during a particular hot spell in the summer (because their was no air-conditioning), and working on repairing Air Force One (and being upset that it was for Nixon.)

My brother-in-law had also worked at Boeing and I can recall several discussions they had about the nature of the job from the 1940’s to the 1990’s.  He fascinated my thirteen-year-old nephew with a film projector that carried Super 8 images of the world from the 1950’s and 1960’s.  He could be as easily charmed by my nine-year-old niece who appeared to be angelic around him.  And he had a magic touch in picking out just the right card for birthdays or Christmas and just the right presents for his granddaughters (my wife and sister-in-law) and his own daughter (my mother-in-law).  An Old School kind of guy with a soft side.

He had two children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  He was a son, a brother, a father, a grandfather, and a great grand-father.  His name is not etched in the annals of history.  There is no plaque with his name on a marbled building.  But he was a good and kind man.

I leave this as his memorial.


  1. JimmyBean said,

    October 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean


  2. jenniferneri said,

    October 1, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I am honestly touched to be able to put my name here on the post of the life of this man. Shows the connectivity of the world. My condolences.


    • tikiman1962 said,

      October 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm

      I am touched and grateful for your response. At this time, it is only words (in the form of eulogies or stories or remembrances) that provide some degree of comfort.
      As writers, words are THE most pwerful tool we possess.

      Yours were written in gold.

      Thank you on behalf of my family.


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