Obituary – Dr. James F. Hammill

Dr. James Hammill

93, of Helena

James Francis Hammill, MD, FACP was born in New York City on November 8, 1923, and at an early age his parents, Rita and Hunter Hammill, moved to Philadelphia.  He attended St. James Elementary School and West Catholic High School for Boys.

In 1942, he graduated from LaSalle College in Philadelphia and joined the enlisted Army Reserve.  After his service, using the GI Bill as his financing, he was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1944, graduating with an MD degree in 1948.

He rejoined the Army as a member of the Medical Corps and retired from the Army in 1957 as Lt. Colonel.  His military service included serving in the Korean War in the 24th Infantry Division, being Chief of Neurology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC and a stint in the Office of Surgeon General.

In 1957, he was invited to become a member of the faculty of medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.  He was honored by Columbia for his compassionate and humane care of many patients and for being a role model for medical students, younger physicians in training and his own colleagues.  In 1992, after 35 years at Columbia, he retired as Professor Emeritus at Columbia University.

Jim’s wife Francesmary Dolores McAvoy passed away on July 22, 2012.  They met in the sixth grade and were married 70 years, moving to Montana in 2004, after enjoying an active retirement in Savannah, Ga. Dr. Hammill is survived by his seven children; James F. Hammill (Patricia) of Troy,  Joan Glassner (Norman Glassner, MD) of Florida, Hunter Hammill, MD (Bobbie) of Texas, Alice Holahan, (John) of Maryland, Vivian Hammill (Linda Sandman) of Montana City, Eileen Reeve (Gus) of Florida, and Patricia Sabo of New Jersey. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren with two more due this fall.

Dr. Hammill was a member of the Cathedral of St. Helena Parish. The Hammill family would like to thank the staff at Touchmark for their wonderful care of Francesmary and Jim since their arrival in 2004.

The family will receive friends at 11 a.m. with a Funeral Mass to begin at noon on Wednesday, July 12, at the Cathedral of St. Helena, 530 N. Ewing Street.  A reception will follow the Mass in the Brondel Center at the Cathedral of St. Helena.  Rite of Committal will follow the reception at Resurrection Cemetery.

Anyone wishing to make a donation in his memory may do so to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, Dept. LA 23216, Pasadena, CA 91185-3216 or the charity of your choice.  Please visit to offer the family or a condolence or to share a memory of Dr. Hammill.