Ken Hammond

1934 - 2024

Ken Hammond portrait

Kenneth “Ken” Hammond, 90, a beloved faculty member at Central Washington University, passed-away on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

Ken was born in 1934 along the Columbia River in northeastern Washington. Raised on a farm near Lake Ellen in the Sherman Creek area of Ferry County, he graduated as valedictorian from Marcus High School in 1951, earning a scholarship to Eastern Washington College of Education.

In 1956, Ken earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees from Eastern, one in Geography and one in Education. He taught high school biology for two years in Camas, Washington, before pursuing a Master of Science in Natural Resources at Oregon State College in Corvallis, Oregon. After completing his Master’s degree, he returned to Eastern Washington State College to teach in the Geography Department.

In 1962, Ken joined Central Washington State College in Ellensburg, Washington, teaching in the Geography Department. A year later, he became the Director of Extension and Correspondence for two years. In 1965, he began a doctoral program at the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School, receiving his Ph.D. in Conservation in 1969.

Ken rejoined the Geography Department at Central Washington University in 1967. He taught a wide range of courses from Introductory Physical Geography to graduate-level Policy and Planning. Working with students was his life passion, and he considered effective teaching the most fundamental part of his job. His goal was to help students prepare for employment, citizenship, and graduate school. Ken mentored many graduate students and cherished the ongoing relationships he maintained with them. After 30 years of teaching, he retired in December 1997.

Ken co-edited a book on environmental literature titled “The Sourcebook on the Environment,” funded by the American Association of Geographers and published in 1978.

In 1981, he received the CWU Distinguished University Professor Teaching award. In 1993, the CWU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi named him Scholar of the Year. In 1997, he was granted an Honorary Life Membership by the Northwest Scientific Association in recognition of his outstanding service. In 2001, he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Eastern Washington University for his exceptional service.

In retirement, Ken continued to lend his expertise in Conservation and Water Resources Policy. Planning, and Sustainability. He was an early proponent for new and refreshed policies that promoted environmental sustainability. Ken’s attachment to the land began early in life and continued throughout his life.

Ken enjoyed gardening and cultivated a large vegetable garden at his home near the Manastash Ridge trailhead. He happily answered questions and provided advice to visitors and enjoyed encouraging children to grow their own food. He shared his garden’s abundance, regularly stocking a small table outside with a “Fresh Veggies – Free” sign.

Ken is survived by his wife of 70 years, Britta Jo (Torrance) Hammond, and their three children.