Firehouse Tree Came First
The Christmas tree at the Squad 41 firehouse in the South Bronx always went up before the tree at Firefighter Robert Hamilton's cozy home in upstate New York.
His wife, Elizabeth, never balked, even after the births of their two children, Robert Jr., 12, and Christine, 8. She knew the importance of warming up the barracks, considering a firefighter's grim occupation.
"The brothers would take the fire truck and get the tree," Mrs. Hamilton said. "It was a big deal. My Christmas couldn't start until they had that party organized, and my husband was the main organizer.
"The party usually happened in the first or second week of December. So we always had our time together as a family. He made sure of that."
About 6 feet tall, with broad shoulders and a muscular build, the 43-year-old Mr. Hamilton was charming and outgoing, said his wife, whom he met at Christ the King High School in Queens their junior year.
"At parties, he would work the room with his cigarette, asking everyone if they were having a good time and if he could get them anything," she said. "Everybody knew him. He was bigger than life."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 3, 2001.
Robert Hamilton, 43, of Blooming Grove, New York, a New York City fireman with Squad 41 in Bronx, New York, lost his life tragically while helping others in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Memorial services are scheduled for Thursday, September 27, 2001, 11 a.m., at St. Mary's Church, Washingtonville, New York. Memorial donations are appreciated to Squad 41 Family Fund, 295 Cow Hill Road, Mystic, CT 06355 or Blooming Grove Disaster Relief Fund - CFOC, P.O. Box 160, Blooming Grove, NY 10914. Arrangements entrusted to David T. Ferguson Funeral Home Inc., Washingtonville, New York.