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Construction worker killed loved Hawkeyes, outdoors

BY NINA EARNEST | JANUARY 25, 2011 7:10 AM

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Kevin Dean Hammons loved to hunt. He loved to fish. And he loved his family.

“He was an outdoors person,” mother Carol Hammons said. “That’s why he was working on construction.”

Hammons, 52, of Washington, Iowa, died Monday while working on a flood-mitigation project near the shore of the pond immediately south of the University of Iowa Art Building West. He was pronounced dead on the scene, according to a UI press release.

Firefighters removed their helmets as the examiner pulled Hammons’ body from the construction pit after a four-hour rescue attempt, silently watching as the medical examiner placed the stretcher in the vehicle.

Hammons was one of eight children — six boys and two girls — born to Kenny and Carol Hammons.

The Columbus Junction native grew up on a farm where he first cultivated his love of the outdoors, said 23-year-old son Justin Hammons.

Justin said his father went into construction after leaving home. He lived in Wyoming for some time before returning to Iowa. Justin said his father had worked for Iowa Bridge and Culvert construction company for the last couple of years.

But work was just one facet of Kevin’s life.

“He loved everything,” Justin said. “There wasn’t much that he could disagree with.”

A loyal Hawkeye fan, Kevin and Justin made the annual trip to the Iowa State-Iowa game.

“It’s always been a tradition,” Justin said.

If he wasn’t at the game, Kevin loved to tailgate. Even when Justin and his friends attended a disappointing Hawkeye football game, Hammons managed to improve the mood.

He could always make things better, Justin said.

“He was very warm and accepting to everything,” Justin said.

He liked to take trips to the casino, Carol said, but nothing compared with his love for raccoon hunting — in the winter or in the summer.

“That was basically all he wanted to do was coon hunt,” Carol said.

Justin often took hunting and fishing trips with his father. And he was a man who was devoted to his family, Carol said.

He had three children — Justin, Mindy, 33, and Kale, 13 — and three grandchildren — Ashley, 11, Kailey, 5, and Zohee, 1.

The UI released a statement regarding the incident on Monday.

“The university extends its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and community,” the statement read.

On Monday night, Kevin’s Facebook page was filled with comments from family members and friends.

“Rest in Peace, Brother,” wrote Steve Hammons.


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