Remembering Captain Robert James "Roddy" Hammett.

Shipyard Sam
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On this day, 30 November 1995, Captain Roddy Hammett was senselessly murdered in New Orleans. Of my generation of steamboaters, none was more unique, or talented, than he. Ironically, Roddy died on a day that had happier connotations in the steamboat world: November 30th was also the anniversary of Mark Twain's birth and the launching of the hull of the Steamer MISSISSIPPI QUEEN.

You are missed, Captain Hammett....9093.jpg


   
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Well said...

Not much to add to your thoughts...Roddy was Roddy. He is sorely missed, but joyfully remembered.


   
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Captain "Doc" described Roddy as a "Renaissance Man" and I can think of no finer compliment to give a person. The heavens cried the day Roddy was laid to rest in the family cemetery at Willow Island.


   
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Remembering Roddy

Roddy has been much on my mind, today, the 18th anniversary of his shocking and senseless death. Roddy was a unique human being and his gentle and fun-loving spirit is missed by many.


   
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A "Blast from the Past" Roddy Remembrance

Whilst digging in my archives today, this photo surfaced and I thought it rather timely to share. From a slide, taken in the pilothouse of the Str. BELLE of LOUISVILLE in October, 1972, we have Capt. Clarke "Doc" Hawley, Capt. Roddy Hammett and yours truly, who was calliopist and assistant purser at the time.

Can it REALLY have been 41 years since this picture was snapped?9094.jpg


   
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Nineteen years ago today Roddy lost his life to senseless violence. May he long be remembered and rest in peace. Amen.


   
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A picture of Roddy and Ann Zeiger.


   
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That photo was taken at Pittsburg Landing the Monday the stock market crashed during October, 1987.

Later that evening Hotel Manager Robin Hixson came up to Roddy, Jeff Spear, and myself as we were sitting up on the sun deck, telling lies, and Robin asked if any of us had an interest in the market.


   
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Righto, Frank! I had gotten a silly notion to try a land job, and was working at FedEx. The DQ was making her first trip up the Tennessee in 15 years and I drove over that day to see the boat and my friends. I came down with a very, very bad case of steamboat-itis.


   
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The rest of the pictchah

Am I in that picture? See below image.9444.jpg


   
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By The Way

That picture is forever burned into my memory, along with the humerous things going on around us, hence the grins. Sam Centanni(?) in the pilot house. Photo by Pat Sullivan. All gone, except moi.


   
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Shipyard Sam
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"Just a moment in time". JH.


   
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Shipyard Sam
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Any time around Roddy was a time for silly grins... except for one.


   
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The Captain's Champagne Dinner for that Tennessee River trip was particularly memorable. Commodore "High-pockets" was at the head of the table and Robin Hixson was at the foot. Bud Black, Roddy, Ann, Jeff S., and my self were down near Robin; boy did we have fun. Ann sneezed and Roddy asked, "What's the matter, Ann, shipping fever?" as he placed a knife like a bitt cross-ways in his mouth. Robin sent a dish of hotel sized soap down Commodore's way which caused many a head to be scratched as it was passed from one honored guest to the next. God, it was a fantastic trip!


   
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In the early Ohio River Mornings Mists the Whistle can still be heard for a hundred miles, for a hundred miles...................


   
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Shipyard Sam
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Twenty Years Today.

My, how fast twenty years have passed, but Captain Roddy is still fresh in my memory.


   
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Shipyard Sam
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Reliving That Night....

For those who did not know Captain Roddy, this is generally what happen on that horrible night twenty-years ago, today:

Captain Roddy was, at the time, working on a casino boat in Baton Rouge, the CASINO ROGUE, and he had just gotten his first time off after his first hitch on the boat. Roddy had not gone directly home to West Virginia, that night, due to a snow storm that left the roads, there, impassable. So he decided to spend some time in New Orleans while waiting for the roads to reopen, and while he was in town, he had dinner with Captain Clarke "Doc"Hawley. After dinner, Rod asked Doc if he would care to go to Schwegmann's Bros. grocery where Roddy wanted to purchase Louisiana Yams for his mother and other items for WV friends as he usually did when he returned home from New Orleans. Luckily, Doc could not accompany his friend, so Roddy went alone. When Roddy finished shopping and returned to his car in the grocery store parking lot, apparently, the killer was hiding in the back seat and forced our friend to drive to the 2200 block of Napoleon where he robbed, shot, and murdered one of the finest, kindest, and most gentle of men who ever lived. The world became a colder and meaner place that terrible night...


   
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Shipyard Sam
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Twenty-two Years...

Twenty-two years, today, and counting until eternity. Rest in peace, Cap'n Roddy...9965.jpg


   
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Amen Brother Don. The Railroad (former Baltimore & Ohio--now CSX) still runs down the Main Street of St Mary's WV, the Ohio River still laps at the old landing, towboat [a bit of poetic license please] whistles still echo a hundred miles in the mist and fog but it's a more lonely place now.


   
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Captain Hammett is mentioned in an article in the current issue of Trains magazine. It is a passing reference, both to him and to the "Natchez", but makes particular note of his gracious hospitality to the author when said writer took an afternoon trip on the boat in the early '80s.


   
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