Bill was known to many of our readers either through his association with Florida College, his years of selfless service in Rotary, or his dedication and commitment as a Christian.
As I have been reflecting on his passing this week, it reminds me of how many of my mentors and older friends who have positively influenced my life are putting off this mortal body for the immortal one in eternity. It reminds me that I am also quickly moving in that direction.
My first association with Bill was as a student at Florida College. He was a fan and supporter of our Basketball team. I learned of many ways he volunteered his time and contributed his resources to help FC students. Norma Jean and I were the recipients of his gracious hospitality many times as he treated us to steak dinners at Pepe’s restaurant in Tampa.
Who knew in those days that 35 years later we would have a son, Kenny, who would marry his Granddaughter, April Temple. I can still see that wry smile cross his face when I joked at the rehearsal dinner that I finally had the opportunity to buy Bill a steak dinner. We collaborated and shared in Kenny and April’s wedding ceremony. Their marriage, of course, created a new relationship between us.
When Bill learned we were moving back to Tampa in 2001, he called and insisted that I continue my Rotary membership by joining his club, Tampa North Rotary. Bill was my sponsor. The year I served as President, Bill was a great encouragement and offered insightful advice that was invaluable to my tenure. In 2005, we both attended the Rotary’s 100 year anniversary in Chicago and shared in the Rotary fellowship and festivities of the occasion
I am sure, however, that it was our commonality of faith in Jesus and our shared religious conviction that was the glue for all our relationships. I was able to see how those values guided his life in our Rotary association and his Florida College involvement.
His life and legacy is well expressed in the official obituary from the Tampa Times.
William Carl “Bill” Hammontree passed from this life May 27, 2018, at the age of 92. He was born in Chattanooga, TN to James Shirley and Irene Loner Hammontree. He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 70 years, Doris Jean King; daughter, Linda Joy Temple; brothers, Shirley Edwin and Harold Wayne; and sister, Edith Ellen Summerhayes. He is survived by three children, David Hammontree (Kathy), Trena Ledford (Edward), and Joe Hammontree (Margaret); 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He was devoted to his wife and family and worked tirelessly to provide for them spiritually and physically. His later years were spent in selfless care for his wife.
Bill operated a lumber yard in Chattanooga for many years. He moved initially to Temple Terrace in 1952 and, after returning briefly to Chattanooga, moved to Temple Terrace permanently in 1964. He was employed by Florida College in a variety of roles including Business Manager and Director of Industries. In 1973, he purchased the wood reel manufacturing plants owned by Florida College and operated them until his passing.
Even after leaving the college employment in 1973, he and Doris Jean continued to work tirelessly in support of Florida College and the FC Academy. He served on the Board of Directors for 37 years and in that role gave untold amounts of time and resources to furthering its mission. Generations of students were influenced by Bill and Doris Jean, and their impact for good will be felt for years to come
He was active in many areas of community service. He was part of the original Temple Terrace Volunteer Fire Department and served as Chief. He served on the Temple Terrace City Council for 22 years. He had a special love for Rotary International and was a member of the Tampa North club with 66 years of perfect attendance. He served in a multitude of roles for Rotary including Club President and District Governor.
But Bill’s first love was the Lord and he tried to shine the light of Christ in all his spheres of influence. He preached for over 40 years in various places around Chattanooga and later throughout the state of Florida. He was a faithful member of the Temple Terrace Church of Christ.
The funeral service will be Saturday, June 2, at the Temple Terrace Church of Christ located at 8001 Temple Terrace Highway in Temple Terrace. Visitation begins at 10 am and the service at 11:30 am. Interment will follow at the Sunset Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Hammontree Student Benefit Fund at Florida College, 119 N. Glen Arven Avenue, Temple Terrace, FL 33617 or floridacollege.edu
Rest in peace, good friend and brother. And may we all find comfort and hope in the words of the apostle John, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. ‘Yes’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman