MEMORIAL TRIBUTE: The beautiful World War II veteran John B. Hammons has died at the age of 92.


With great sadness, we learn the passing of American hero and World War II veteran, Mr. John B. Hammons has died at the age of 92.

He was a longtime resident of Clinton County, born in White's Branch, Kentucky, but moving his family to Ohio during the mid-fifties. John is survived by his three children, Patti Hammons Moore, Eileen Hammons Cochran and Thomas Edward Hammons; 10 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.

His wife, Mallie, and two sons, John L. Hammons and Ronald Gene Hammons, preceded him in death. He was an avid fisherman who enjoyed sharing "fish tales" with his eldest grandson, John L. Johnson. "Grandpa would have the biggest laugh when his wife, Regina, would catch the biggest fish."

John B began writing poetry at the age of 86; mostly for fun, to the delight of children and grandchildren. One vivid piece described his experiences as a sailor during World War II.

He became a "bit of a celebrity" when a Veterans Day article was published in 2011. "Valor Under Fire" was his amazing story of survival aboard the aircraft carrier SS Bunker Hill. The vessel was torpedoed May 11, 1945.

"After Dad's story was published, it seemed a trip to Kroger's took a lot more time as the loudspeaker would announce that John Hammons is in the store, be sure to stop and shake his hand!" Tells his daughter Patti Moore, "I believe Dad (secretly) loved all the attention and never left home without his beloved World War II hat."

The article seemed to strike a chord with many people. The phone began ringing for several weeks. One of those calls was from a relative of Junior Rexroat, a Piketon, Ohio resident who also had been aboard the USS Bunker Hill and had survived the attack. The two shipmates were reunited — the article was published Oct. 5, 2012 — after 67 years.

John passed away at Laurels of Blanchester after a short stay. During those few days he was surrounded by family and friends. "Dad was once again the center of attention and loved it (secretly, of course)," says Patti. 

Remember Those Who Served
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