MOUNT AIRY — John Rasper Hamilton Jr., 93, of Mount Airy, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. He was born on Dec. 21, 1919, in Troy, one of eight children of John and Alma Green Hamilton. He grew up in Thomasville and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during WW II in the Pacific Theater. The day after he returned from the war, he married the love of his life Maxine Moore. He graduated from High Point University where he served as president of student government. He taught business at Ashmore Business College and later received a master's from Appalachian State University. He and his family moved to Mount Airy in 1950, where he began his career as a business teacher and basketball and baseball coach at Beulah High School in Surry County. His girls and boys basketball teams enjoyed great success winning many state and regional championships and bringing recognition to their small community. He was selected to coach the North Carolina Girls High School All Stars and later served as the president of the North Carolina Girls High School Athletic Association. He also served for many years as director of the girls' basketball program at Camp Pla Mor at Windy Hill Beach, S.C., working alongside UNC head basketball coach Frank McGuire. He was inducted into the Surry County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. In 1959, he decided to leave coaching and teaching and concentrate on school administration. He began as principal of Bannertown Elementary School before being selected in 1962 as principal of Mount Airy Junior High School where he served for 11 years. During his tenure, he was president of the N.C. Junior High-Middle School Principal's Association and later an adviser to the board of education of Appalachian State University. He retired in 1977, after a 30-year career. Following retirement, he dedicated his time to community service and being a wonderful "Pops" to his grandchildren. He was a devoted community servant and served in many leadership positions. He was an active member of the Mount Airy Lions Club for more than 50 years and served as Lions District Governor from 1973 to 1974. He was awarded the Jack Stickley Fellow Award for service by the Lions International in 2008. He served on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Homes of N.C., the N.C. Eye and Human Tissue Bank, and the Mount Airy Salvation Army. He was a member of Central United Methodist Church where he faithfully served in many leadership positions. He will be remembered by his many friends for his loyalty, his passion for service to his community, his enjoyment of a good laugh and a day on the golf course and his support of Tar Heel basketball. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Maxine Moore Hamilton; son John R. Hamilton III and wife Ona of Huntsville, Ala.; son Neil Hamilton and wife Anna of Benicia, Calif.;, and daughter Lynn (Hamilton) Dickens and husband, Scotty, of Winston-Salem; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; a sister, Barbara Hepler and a sister-in-law, Priscilla Joyce, both of Thomasville;, and 11 nieces and nephews. The family would like to express their love and appreciation to his caregiver and his wonderful friend, Helen Gordon. A celebration of John's life will be held on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 1:30 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church in Mount Airy with the Rev. Jim Pyatt and the Rev. Julius Lambeth officiating. The family will receive friends in the ladies' parlor immediately following the service. Burial to follow on Friday, Dec. 13, at 11 a.m. at Holly Hill Cemetery in Thomasville. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Central United Methodist Church, 1909 N. Main St., Mount Airy, NC 27030, or the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 443, Mount Airy, NC 27030.

Published in Mount Airy Newspapers from Dec. 9 to Dec. 10, 2013