NarroWay's Head Chef Lays Down Her Spoon
Pat Hammond: March 3, 1937 - November 27, 2020
FORT MILL, S.C. - December 13, 2020 - "I love NarroWay and I’ll keep working ‘til the Lord takes the spoon out of my hand.” Those were the words of Ms. Pat Hammond, 24-year veteran and head chef at NarroWay Productions Dinner Theatre. On Friday, November 27, 2020, God saw fit to take the spoon and carry His humble servant into all of Heaven’s glory.
Patricia C. Hammond was born March 3, 1937 to the late Edward William and Allene Hanna Hammond. The eldest of four children, she grew up in Florence, South Carolina and graduated from Spartanburg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1958.
A surgical nurse by trade, Pat’s journey to becoming the head chef for a nationally recognized Christian dinner theatre was made on a winding road.
Pat with her siblings, Sammy, Joey and Becky
Pat as she began her nursing career
She was first employed at McCleod General Hospital in Florence SC. After traveling with some hospital friends to Kentucky, she enjoyed her visit so much that she decided to apply for a hospital position in Pineville KY. While serving there she met two kindred spirits that would become lifelong friends, Laddie Gilbert and Hilda Payne. Those who have known Pat a long time can hardly say her name without saying Pat, Laddie and Hilda.
Pat with best friends Laddie Gilbert (right) and Hilda Payne (center)
In the mid 1960’s Pat moved to Hyden, Kentucky where she and Laddie, a nurse anesthetist, worked for Dr. Mary Wiss, a Catholic nun and former medical missionary, who was director of frontier nursing in the area. When Dr. Wiss took a position in Pikeville KY, she asked Pat and Laddie to join her. Consequently, Pat moved to Pikeville, Kentucky on January 1, 1970 and continued to work for Dr. Wiss until the doctor retired in 1990. At that point, Pat accepted a position as a surgical nurse at Pikeville Methodist Hospital.
While in Pikeville, Pat was a faithful member of First Baptist Church. Among other areas of service, she was an instrumental part of establishing the Island Creek Mission, now Creekside Church at Island Creek.
It was at First Baptist Pikeville that Pat met Rebecca Martin and Yvonne Clark, now founders of NarroWay Productions. When Martin and Clark were hired as professional staff members at the church in the summer of 1986, Pat, Laddie and Hilda quickly befriended the duo and served as valuable, talented volunteers in programs they created.
Pat, Laddie and Hilda with Rebecca and Birdie in Pikeville
Pat selflessly served in costuming for productions, sang in the choir, coordinated and prepared Wednesday night church-wide suppers, served in the children’s “cherub” choir, prepared meals for the Crossroads youth team and volunteered wherever she was needed. Though Pat always had a keen interest and excelled in culinary skills, it was in preparing meals for the large youth team tours and church-wide events that Pat gained her initial experience in preparing meals for large groups. This experience eventually prepared her to become a connoisseur of meals at NarroWay.
Pat following an Easter choir performance at First Baptist Church
Pat with CrossRoads youth team member JC Hensley. Hensley is now a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments.
After ten wonderful years of friendship, in 1996 Martin & Clark moved to South Carolina to start NarroWay and Ms. Pat felt led to join them. She took an early retirement from the hospital, left behind everything and followed the NarroWay calling. Though not related as family, NarroWay’s Martin & Clark have always loved and cared for Ms. Pat as a second mother and have treasured their 35-year long friendship.
While Ms. Pat’s initial roles at NarroWay included doing anything that was needed, she focused her efforts in concessions, costuming and gift shop responsibilities. Pat was always involved in food service at NarroWay. From the start, she fed the cast and crew for rehearsals and workdays. In 2006, when NarroWay began operating as a full-time dinner theatre, Pat naturally fell into the role of “head chef.” Through these many years Pat organized and coordinated teams of volunteers who serve as many as 2000 custom-prepared dinners a week. She created many of the delicious sauces and recipes herself. Over her 24-years of service, Pat and her kitchen team became family. As her health declined her command center became a small red canvas chair right outside the kitchen, surrounded by commercial warmers, serving trays and loving friends.
Pat plating food in November 2020, what would be her final day at the NarroWay Theatre
Pat Hammond was much loved by her siblings, nieces and nephews. She was adored by the many cast members of NarroWay. And she was greatly admired by the hundreds of people who once participated in her preschool choir, her mission church labors and her work with teens.
Pat is survived by her sister, Becky Butler of Rincon GA; brother, Joe (Judy) Hammond of Prosperity SC; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Allene Hammond; brother, William Samuel Hammond (Florence SC); and two best friends, Laddie Gilbert and Hilda Payne. Pat was a member of McKee Road Baptist Church in Charlotte NC. She was a prayer warrior and a good and faithful servant of her Lord Jesus Christ. She is sorely missed.
A memorial service for Ms. Hammond will be held at the NarroWay Theatre (3327 Hwy 51, Fort Mill SC 29715) on Wednesday, December 30 at 7pm. Doors open at 6pm. A live stream is also planned.
Memorial contributions honoring the life and work of Pat Hammond can be made to the non-profit ministry to which she dedicated her life, NarroWay Productions. Donations can be received via check or through the NarroWay website. (narroway.net)
Pat when interviewed prior to her 80th birthday
Celebrating her 80th birthday surrounded by the NarroWay cast