In Loving Memory of Leroy Henry Hammond
Leroy Henry Hammond, born on January 24, 1937, lived life on his own terms, leaving an indelible mark on those who knew him. The beloved son of Leroy and Melissa Smith, he was raised in Philadelphia, where he received his education in the public schools and proudly graduated from Bok High School. Leroy, affectionately known as ‘Uncle Junie” to his South Philadelphia nieces and nephews, and also known as “Lee” to his friends, was the youngest of three children, alongside his sisters Elaine and Yvonne, all of whom preceded him in death.
An accomplished athlete in track and field and an amateur boxer, Leroy was passionate about jazz, amassing an impressive collection of albums and pristine instruments. The running joke among family and friends was about these instruments, as Leroy never quite got around to learning how to play them, adding a touch of his corny jokes to every gathering.
In 1964, Leroy united in marriage with Gwendolyn Hammond, and their union brought forth four children: Lynne Hammond, Leslie Marant, Jamila Hammond-Hendricks, and Chausiku Ridgway. Leroy, a man with unmatched work ethic, held two, and at times, three jobs throughout his life. His early career at the United States Post Office led to over 30 dedicated years as a Non-Teaching Assistant at Gratz High School, where he emphasized the importance of education and left an enduring impact on generations of students.
Leroy instilled in his children and grandchildren a deep sense of pride in their Black heritage and the importance of education, ensuring they explored the classics of Black literature during their formative years. A lifelong practicing Hebrew Israelite, Leroy lived life with a spirit of independence and resilience.
He is survived by his four children: Lynne, Leslie, Jamila,, and Chausiku (Ronald Ridgway, Sr.); grandchildren: Jameel, Ronald Jr., Morgan, Ryann, Omar, Noah, James, Kyah, and Simone. Leroy also leaves behind a host of nieces and nephews who will forever cherish his memory.
May Leroy Henry Hammond rest in peace, his spirit forever alive in the hearts of those he touched, embodying a life lived on his own terms and filled with dedications, music, laughter, and an unwavering commitment to family and education.