in memoriam

In Memory of Alfred Hammon

March 11, 2024


Alfred (Al) Hammon of Smithville, NJ passed away on March 11 at the age of 97. He was born in Elizabeth, NJ in 1926 to Otto and Johanna Hammon from Furth, Bavaria, Germany. After graduating from Plainfield H.S., Al received an appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY as a Cadet-Midshipman. During and after WWII, he found himself serving aboard troop ships operating in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. He graduated in 1947 as a licensed Third Officer in the Merchant Marines and commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Al continued his pursuit in the maritime industry at Georgetown University where he earned a Bachelor of Science, Foreign Service in 1950. After graduation from Georgetown, Al was ordered to the Navy for a two-year tour of duty during the Korean War (1952-54) as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, Cargo Operations Officer. He remained in the Inactive Reserve until retirement as a Commander in 1968.

Upon release of active duty in 1954, Al was employed with American Export Lines in New York City and later transferred to their Philadelphia office. It was in Philadelphia where he met his wife, Joanne Chapman from Pottsville, PA. The couple married in December of 1956 and eventually settled in North Plainfield, NJ, where they raised their two children, Suzanne and Jeffrey.

Al joined The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, located in Manhattan, and also pursued his graduate degree from New York University's School of Business, graduating in 1965. He spent 31 successful years with the NYNJ Port Authority and was very active in numerous port and maritime activities. He authored the New York Port Handbook in 1958; served as Chairman of the Ship Channels and Harbors Committee of the American Association of Port Authorities; acted as the Association's representative for the U.S. Department of Commerce Coastal Zone Management Advisory Committee; resided as President of the North Atlantic Ports Association from 1984-86; represented the Port Authority before Congressional committees, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard on port navigation projects; received the Unit Citation Award, Distinguished Service Medal, and Award of Achievement.

Al also had many civic interests. In North Plainfield, he served as Chairman of the Planning Board, Vice Chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Vice President of the Business Association, and member of the Library Board of Trustees and the Green Brook Flood Control Commission. He also became an Associate Professor at SUNY Maritime College, Ft. Schuyler, NY.

He retired in 1987, as the Manager of Harbor Planning, leaving behind his office in the World Trade Center. During retirement, he continued as a port development consultant for clients including the Nassau Bahamas Port Authority, Port Everglades Authority, Delaware Port Authority, Port of Salem New Jersey Authority, New Jersey Alliances for Action, and the Global Marine Container Terminal.

In 1998, Al and Joanne relocated to South Jersey and spent six years in Ocean City. There, he became Secretary of the Ocean City Utility Advisory Commission, Founder and President of the Southern New Jersey Shore Chapter of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association, and a director on his condominium association board. In 2004, they moved to Smithville during which time he served as Trustee and Usher at the Margate Community Church.

Al's initial ambition was to become a naval architect and design ships, especially yachts. World War II altered his path, but never his love for boats. Instead, he spent many hours assembling and rigging model replicas of some of his most beloved vessels. A hobby that required precision and meticulous attention to detail, both traits that he possessed. In fact, all of his hobbies centered on boats. In the summer, you could find him boating on the Metedeconk and Navesink rivers. At other times of the year, he enjoyed cruising with his wife. Later in life, he enjoyed painting his favorite boats. His watercolors were hung with pride on the walls of his home.

He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 67 years, Joanne. He also leaves behind his daughter Suzanne Caravousanos and grandson Nicholas; son Jeffrey (Shelly), and granddaughters, Kaitlin and Elizabeth.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Higgins Home for Funerals, Watchung, NJ.