Longtime Destin resident Antoinette Marie (Toni) Hammet died peacefully at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Miramar Beach on Tuesday December 28, 2021 at the age of 67 from complications related to her year-long struggle with oral cancer.
On October 4, 1954 Toni was born into Weirton, West Virginia’s thriving Polish community that operated the then world-renowned Weirton Steel Mill. As a child she delivered papers with neighborhood dogs following her home, helped with her father Louis Smoleski’s restaurant and participated in his campaign for sheriff.
During 1972 as a self-assured 17 year old, Toni moved to Destin for 2 years before heading to Atlanta for a year. Then 47 years ago future husband Ben fell in love with Toni atop Six Flags’ Great American Scream Machine and coaxed her back to Florida under the condition that he “get a job”.
Six years later while living in Bradenton FL, Toni and Ben decided to “get married and have 5 children”. Eight years thereafter, Toni was busy indeed caring for 4 sons and a daughter--Ben III, Brooks, Evans, Davis and Marika. Two weeks after Marika’s birth during November 1987, the family moved back to the Destin area where her children attended Destin Elementary for 15 consecutive years.
Toni was a loving, full-time, all-in, incredible mother as well as a T-Ball coach, soccer coach, Cub Scout Den mother and second mother to many of her children’s friends.
Husband Ben says “I married Mother Earth” as Toni’s deep love for animals and plants was ever present manifesting itself in glorious gardens, happy pets, nesting birds, and returning turtles.
Toni is survived by husband Ben Hay Hammet Jr. of Destin FL, son Jonathan Brooks Hammet of Destin FL, son Evans Jenkins Hammet of Fort Walton Beach FL, daughter Marika Hammet of New Orleans LA, son Davis Hammet of Topeka KS, grandson Liam Hammet of Brunswick GA, grandson Jenkins Hay Hammet of Fort Walton Beach FL, granddaughter Sable Luna Hammet of Destin FL, granddaughter Twila Marie Hammet of Fort Walton Beach FL, granddaughter Finley Quinn Hammet of Destin FL and sister Kathleen Moore of Fort Walton Beach FL.
She is preceded in death by father Louis Smoleski, mother Annette Zagula Smoleski, son Ben Hay Hammet III and grandson Ben Hay Hammet IV.
Toni’s Memorial Website is accessible at forevermissed.com/toni-hammet. A Celebration of Life will be held later this year.