Ann P. Hammond of Scarborough, a teacher, adventurer and author of six books of poetry, has died. She was 85.

Hammond, who died at Maine Medical Center in Portland on Nov. 6, was remembered this week as a strong and independent woman who advocated for the important role physical education plays in the health and well-being of children.

Scarborough poet Ann P. Hammond and her beloved Havanese, Emily Dickinson. Courtesy of Kristine Hoyt

Born in Worthing, England, in 1936, Hammond graduated from London University and began her career as an elementary, high school and college educator as the director of physical education at Pipers Corner School in High Wycombe, England, from 1958-60. She held the same position at the Arundel School in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 1960-64, and the East Woods School in Oyster Bay, New York, from 1964-74. She went to spend more than two decades as a health educator for the East Hampton School District in New York, retiring in 1996.

During her career, she also consulted at Brooklyn College in New York City and at Adephi University in New York.

“She was a powerful force in kid’s lives. She loved teaching kids how to use their body to improve their mind,” said Kristine Hoyt, a friend and fellow Scarborough resident.

Hammond practiced what she preached, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro after she moved to Africa in 1960. She also was an avid sailor and her voyages included a solo trip from New York to Maine. Hoyt reflected on Hammond’s courage, saying that she would sail solo up and down the Maine coast, stopping at various ports to explore the area.

“She was an extremely strong-willed woman,” Hoyt said. “She was intrepid to go up Kilimanjaro. She faced any adversity with such bravery.”

After retiring in 1996, Hammond took a class to learn about poetry and discovered a new passion. She was mentored by author and poet Molly Peacock.

“She was an amazing writer,” Hoyt said.

Hammond moved from Sag Harbor, New York, to Piper Shores in Scarborough in 2011. She wrote six books of poetry, including her most recent compilations, “Sea Wings” and “On Higgins Beach,” which were inspired by the Maine coast.

Hammond was a strong supporter of the Scarborough Public Library, where she read her poetry and Hoyt showed her photographs. The friends also gave presentations at Falmouth by the Sea and Piper Shores.

“People loved the presentations,” Hoyt said. “It was an incredible richness in my life … unsurpassed. Friendship has no age limit. She was my best friend. We did everything together.”

Hammond was a generous supporter of the library. Nancy Crowell, director of the library, said Hammond gifted her writing desk to the library, as well as proceeds from her poetry books.

“She was a secret treasure in our community,” Crowell said. “Making sure her legacy is continued and treasured is something we are very pleased and honored to do.”

Hammond also had a lifelong passion for animals, naming her service dogs after literary giants, including her beloved Havanese, Emily Dickinson.

Though Hammond never married and didn’t have children, Hoyt said Hammond spent every holiday with her family and they developed a mother-daughter relationship.

Hoyt remembered meeting Hammond for the first time during a walk on Higgins Beach, when their dogs became instant friends.

“I’m going to miss her telling me she loves me, which she did every time I talked to her,” Hoyt said. “To be told that almost every day is a really wonderful thing. I’ll miss our long conversations over a wonderful meal. I’ll miss walking on the beach with our dogs. That’s a lot to miss.”

A celebration of Hammond’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 21 at Higgins Beach. Hoyt said her ashes will be released at sea.

“She had a beloved brother who died at a young age from brain cancer,” she said. “He was buried at sea in England. She said she wants to go to the sea because the tide will take her ashes to him.”

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