Edward Leslie Hamm
March 22, 1917 - April 20, 2013
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|Edward Leslie Hamm, Sr., a distinguished architect, died April 20, 2013. He was born March 22, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia, was the youngest child of Owen W. and Minnie Maddox Hamm, and the grandson of Isaiah and Annie Nelson Hamm of Richmond, Virginia, and George Maddox and Hattie Maddox-Clayton of Brunswick County, Virginia.
A graduate of Huntington High School, Leslie was employed during the summers at the shipyard where he worked on building the aircraft carrier “Enterprise”. He graduated from Hampton Institute (University) in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Building Construction, a subject which he taught while working at Manassas (Industrial) Regional High School for the next two years.
Leslie served in the Army Quarter Master Training Regiment where he reached the rank of Corporal.
From 1946 to 1960 he worked as a Draftsman, Job Captain, Chief Draftsman, and Office Manager for private architectural firms R.C. Archer & Associates, and Mills, Petticord & Mills, both located in Washington, DC.
During the Civil Rights Movement, both Leslie and his wife Dorothy devoted their talents working timelessly to secure equal rights and a quality education for their children. As a result they were both named as plaintiffs in several law suits. In 1960, Leslie joined the Federal Government General Services Administration and served in the following capacities: Project Review Architect (John F. Kennedy Cultural Center for the Performing Arts); Project Coordinator (Federal Triangle Project); Acting Chief of the Architectural Section; and Office of Construction Management Coordinator on GSA Demonstration Projects which were designed to demonstrate environmental enhancement and energy conservation.
Upon retirement from GSA in 1977 Leslie was serving as the Chief Architect and Energy Conservation Coordinator for the Professional Service Division. His duties included the development of Energy Conservation Guidelines for both new and existing buildings. He also served on the National Evaluation Board for the selection of architects and engineers for professional services contracts.
Leslie was also very active in the Hall’s Hill (High View Park) community where he served as Chairman of the Neighborhood Conservation Committee, which prepared research studies and made recommendations to the Arlington County Planning Commission and the County Board from 1965 to 1975. Additionally, he utilized his talents as a top-notch architect by becoming a member of the Arlington Neighborhood Conservation Committee, where Hall’s Hill (High View Park) was one of the models for demonstrating how to upgrade existing neighborhoods. Leslie’s responsibilities included overseeing the building of new houses, sidewalks, curbs and gutters within the community during the mid 1960’s. He was also involved with the design feature done by the Arlington Landscape Committee and the Community, which created an abstract “totem-pole sculpture garden” entrance to the community symbolizing Native Americans who married African Americans residing on the former plantation known as Hall’s Hill.
While living in Arlington, Leslie was a member of Mt. Salvation Baptist Church for over 20 years, later joining Calloway United Methodist Church where he was responsible for the plans to renovate its original structure which was built in 1866. Leslie was an avid Redskins fan who also enjoyed singing tenor for several years, performing throughout the Washington area with the mass choir known as the Menotones and Trebletones. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arlington Interchurch Committee on Housing for Low Income Families; the Arlington Council on Human Relations; the Northern Virginia Fair Housing Association; the County Advisory Board on Health and Welfare; and the NAACP for over 50 years.
After retirement, Leslie and Dorothy spent time building their new home in Caroline County, Virginia, which he also designed. While living at Lake Caroline they both joined Wright’s Chapel United Methodist Church. Leslie’s life experiences taught him to always be truthful, dependable, trustworthy, and punctual.
Leslie was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 61 years, Dorothy M. Bigelow Hamm; sisters Annie M. Hamm Walker, Victoria I. Hamm Simmons, and Lillian “Bea” Hamm McCallum. He is survived by his children, Edward Jr. of Virginia Beach; Bernard Sr. of Arlington; and Carmela of Henrico; four grandchildren, Rodney (Linda), Bernard Jr. (Krystal), Niko, and Donique; and three great-grandchildren, Elisia, Joshua, and Gabriela. He also leaves to mourn, his sister’s children: Leon D. McCallum, Sr., John B. McCallum, Leslie A. McCallum, Frissell C. Walker, Jr., Sandra W. Howell
Viewing will be held on Thursday, April 25, 2013, at H. W. Dabney Funeral Home 518 N. Washington Hwy, Ashland, VA from 10 am – 7 pm and again on Friday, April 26, 2013, beginning at 11:30am at Wright’s Chapel United Methodist Church, 8063 Ladysmith Rd. in Ruther Glen, VA 22546, (804) 448-1251. Funeral services will begin at 1pm.
On Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 10am-12noon, there will be a viewing and an informal Memorial Service at Calloway United Methodist, 5000 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207. The burial will follow at National Memorial Park Cemetery, 7482 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22042