KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — City leaders announced Monday that a former mayor and alderman died last week at the age of 87 years.

According to a release from Kingsport officials, the late Kermit Gardner Hammond first served as an alderman in 1973 before becoming vice mayor and then elected mayor in 1979.

During Hammond’s time as mayor, the Leadership Kingsport program developed.

“Hammond’s low key, steady leadership and principled view of economics provided stability and set us on a positive path,” said Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull. “I periodically called on him – and all past mayors – for counsel and guidance. They always stepped up to serve in the ‘Kingsport Spirit,’ as described by J. Fred Johnson.”

Aside from his studies at Vanderbilt University for an arts and sciences degree and Darden School at the University of Virginia for a Master’s in Business Administration, the Kingsport native lived in the city his entire life.

“Mayor Hammond was a long-time Kingsport resident and community leader who had a strong sense of civic duty and love for his home town,” City Manager Chris McCartt said. “He helped guide and grow our town for decades. His loyalty and leadership will truly be missed.”

After earning his master’s degree, Hammond worked at Tennessee Eastman before joining the Kingsport Foundry and Manufacturing Corporation team, where he worked as an owner and Chief Financial Officer for more than four decades.

“While president of the Kingsport Jaycees, Hammond played a central role in establishing the Kingsport Center for Opportunity – a sheltered workshop that offered training and education to those with physical and cognitive disabilities,” the release stated.

He was also a member of the First Broad Street United Methodist Church and served on the board of directors for the American Red Cross and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. The release detailed he was also a Rotarian, a Paul Harris Fellow and president of the Ridgefields Country Club.