Julia C. Hammond, teacher's aide

March 28, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Julia Cannen Hammond, who was paralyzed from the waist down after a 1970s shooting and later went on to became a teacher's aide, died of multiple organ failure March 14 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 56.

Miss Hammond was born in Baltimore and raised on Keswick Road in Roland Park. She was a 1971 graduate of Western High School.

On Dec. 31, 1975, Miss Hammond was visiting Joseph Lee, part owner of the Short Stop, a grocery-wine-beer carryout in Aberdeen. She had come to keep Mr. Lee, her boyfriend, company because he had to work New Year's Eve when an assailant came into the store, shooting Mr. Lee.

After picking up Mr. Lee's .357-caliber Magnum revolver, which he kept in the shop, the robber forced the couple to lie on the floor. Mr. Lee was shot four times, and Miss Hammond was shot three times, piercing her spinal cord.

Miss Hammond spent 13 weeks recovering at what is now University of Maryland Medical Center, followed by weeks of rehabilitation at Good Samaritan Hospital. Mr. Lee also survived the shooting.

"They never caught the shooter, and the case was never solved," said her father, C. Willis "Bill" Hammond Sr. of Baltimore.

Miss Hammond, who had been an avid skier and bodysurfer, had been working at an Aberdeen antiques shop at the time of the shooting.

After recovering, Miss Hammond worked for the National Spinal Cord Injury Hotline, where she served as an advocate for others who had suffered similar injuries.

In recent years, the Mays Chapel resident was a teacher's aide at Ridgely Middle School and at Jacksonville Elementary School, where she worked with special-needs children.

She stopped working last summer when her health began to fail, family members said.

"She may have been in a wheelchair, but she could do everything but walk. She drove her car, lived independently and did whatever she wanted. It was absolutely amazing," said her father, a former CEO of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

Her brother, Charles W. "Charlie" Hammond Jr., lives in Fort Myers, Fla.

"She knew what she was up against but was always interested in other people. Her attitude was, 'The heck with me, what's up with you?' " her brother said.

She was a communicant of Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Charles and Saratoga streets, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 4.

Also surviving is a sister, Martha Rowlett of Kerrville, Texas; and two stepdaughters, Megan Jones of New York City and Kelly Jones of Vermont. A marriage to Philip Jones ended in divorce.

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