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Robert W. "Bob" Hamilton

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Robert W. "Bob" Hamilton Obituary
Lived the American dream,
Benevolent civic leader
Robert W. ""Bob"" Hamilton, 91

Robert W. ""Bob"" Hamilton, 91, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Alamogordo. He was born in Verona, Ky., on June 12, 1919, to Jesse Lloyd and Rose Mary (Whitson) Hamilton.
Bob graduated from Walton-Verona High School in 1937, Centre College in Kentucky in 1940 and Indiana Institute of Mortuary Science in 1941. He managed the Hinton-Turner Funeral Home in Paris, Ky., from 1943 to 1947.
Bob married Katherine Caldwell in Paris, Ky., in 1943. This ""neat little school teaching lady"" was not only his wife, but his buddy and best friend for 50 years and three weeks until her death in April 1993.
In 1948, Bob and Katherine migrated west, seeking a dry climate for Bob's health. They said they were like the ""Oakies"" after the great dust bowl in Oklahoma, who migrated to the Southwest with their belongings in their old car and a mattress tied on the top, seeking a better place to live. Bob and Katherine did the same, but without the mattress on top.
Upon arrival in Alamogordo, which they had never heard of when they left Kentucky, they roamed the streets looking for work. Katherine obtained a job teaching in the Alamogordo school system their first day here, and Bob got a job on their second day with the Stevenson Hardware and Furniture Company. He was cross-trained as his father not only was a funeral director but also operated a general store in Verona, Ky.
In 1952, Bob purchased H.G. ""Red"" O'Dell's interest in the Mullins-O'Dell Funeral Home. Bob and Walt Mullins were partners until 1971, at which time Bob purchased Walt's interest and the name was changed to Hamilton Funeral Home. Bob sold to J. Harry Ford and Harold G. O'Dell in 1987 and joined the partially retired group of old folks.
Besides Katherine, the most important thing in Bob's life was being a funeral director. He said that if he had to start all over again he would like to just do the same, and that there could be no greater reward than feeling you have helped so many through troubled waters.
Bob enjoyed many rewarding endeavors, like being president of the Paris, Ky., Lions Club in 1943. He became a member of the Alamogordo Noon Lions Club in 1950, and was awarded a life membership in the International Association of Lions Clubs in 1988. Bob was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Alamogordo and served as trustee, elder and other capacities over the years. He was also a board member of the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce, and served on the board of the Gerald Champion Memorial Hospital since 1953, serving as finance officer and chairman of its board for over 30 years. Bob was a member of the board of directors of Alamogordo Federal Savings and Loan Association (now Bank '34) since 1958, and served as chairman of the board for several years. He also became a member of the board of directors of the Otero County State Bank (later known as Wells Fargo), retiring from the board in 1988. Bob was a board member and president of the New Mexico State Board of Thanatopratice and New Mexico Funeral Directors and Embalmers, and was a board member and president of the New Mexico Funeral Service Association. He helped organize United Way of Otero County, and served several terms on the board. He was also a board member and president of the Dare Memorial Rest Home Foundation. Bob was a board member of the Alamogordo Industrial and the Otero County Development Corporation. He was a member of the Committee of Fifty (a division of the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce) since its inception.
Bob was presented the ""Citizen of the Year Award"" in 1984 by the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce. In 1986, he was the recipient of the certificate of appreciation from the city of Alamogordo for years of outstanding service and contribution to the Alamogordo community. He received the New Mexico Distinguished Public Award in 1989. Bob was the 1988-89 recipient of the Helen Kirk Award, in honor of outstanding volunteer work done on behalf of the United Way of Otero County. In 1993, he was presented with a life membership by Gerald Champion Memorial Hospital Auxiliary for years of outstanding support to that organization. He was the Otero County Junior Livestock Inductee into the Ring of Honor in 1994, and was the recipient of the certificate of appreciation from the Otero County Boys & Girls Club in 1994-95 for continuing participation in their programs. On Feb. 24, 1996, Bob received the Service to Mankind Award from Sertoma Clubs. He also received other various recognitions including being inducted into the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels by Kentucky Gov. Martha Lane Collins in 1985. Bob's most recent award was the Paul Harris Fellowship Award presented by the White Sands Rotary Club in 2005.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine, his parents and his brother.
Survivors include four nephews, James Robert Hamilton, of Orlando, Fla., R.C. Hutchinson, of Catlin, Ohio, Jack Hutchinson, of Austin, Texas, and Richard Hutchinson of Limo, Ohio; two nieces, Karen Hamilton LaRosa, of Florence, Ky., and Joan McCarty, of Robinson, Ill.; a great-niece, Melody Ann Richards, of Verona, Ky.; numerous other great-nieces and nephews; and his sister-in-law Ellena G. Hamilton, of Verona.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, at Bethel Baptist Church with the Rev. Eddie Tubbs officiating.
Pallbearers include Jaime Anderson, J. Harry Ford, Miles Ledgerwood, Jimmie Randall, Marion Ledford and Kent House.
Honorary pallbearers will be John Mobbs, Richard Stanley, Herbert Baxter and Jerry Armijo.
Interment will follow at Monte Vista Cemetery.
A reception will follow the interment at Bethel Baptist Church.
The family will greet friends from 5 until 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, at Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home.
The Hamilton family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the funeral services.
To sign the online register book, please visit www.hamiltonodell.com.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Feb. 3 to Mar. 3, 2011
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