Monday, November 17, 2008
Former Journalist, Author, Activist Kingsley Hammett Dies
SANTA FE A former journalist, author and civic activist, has died after collapsing while removing dead trees along a trail east of Santa Fe.
Kingsley Hammett, a former business editor of The Santa Fe New Mexican in the early 1980s, died Friday at the age of 63. The cause of his collapse was not immediately known.
Previously, Hammett worked as a freelance writer for the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, before becoming part owner and founding publisher of the Washington Tribune, a free community tabloid in Washington, D.C.
In 1979, he covered the statehouse in Jefferson City, Mo., for the Missouri Press News, before working at The New Mexican.
Hammett had "very high ideals" when he entered journalism, his wife, Jerilou, said.
"He believed that covering the news in an aggressive and honest and independent way was one of the biggest safeguards of American democracy," she said.
After leaving journalism, Hammett was publisher of DESIGNER/builder, a magazine he co-founded with his wife.
He also wrote three books on New Mexico furniture, and two other books — "Santa Fe: A Walk Through Time" and "The Essence of Santa Fe" — that were co-authored with his wife and designer Peter Scholz.
Hammett also worked on many community issues. He opposed the rezoning of 25 acres in Santa Fe to permit an industrial park in 1989 and development of a golf course in La Cienega in 1992. He also worked to keep weapons out of schools.
Hammett was born and raised in New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1967. In 1979, Hammett earned a master's from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a second master's from California State University-Dominguez Hills in humanities-history in 2002.
He served as a lieutenant aboard the USS Arlington in the Tonkin Gulf during the Vietnam War.
Hammett is survived by his wife and a stepdaughter.
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