Kyle was born May 13, 1994 to Dave and Sue Hamilton and grew up with his sister Whitney (Schneider) in Columbia, MO. He attended Christian Fellowship School and the Columbia Area Career Center. He is survived by his mother and sister; brother-in-law Jeremy; nephew Riley and niece Penelope; grandparents Jim and Doris Hamilton, uncles Scott and Keith Hamilton and aunt Becky Miller, all of Ohio; close friend Hannah Williams; and many beloved cousins, family members, and a host of wonderful friends. He was preceded in death by his father, grandparents Arnold and Juanita Richardson Poe, and numerous friends who have lost their battle with addiction.
Kyle was called to his eternal home on February 7, 2019. He will forever be remembered for his compassion, warm, loving heart, ability to light up any room with his smile, and easily make friends, as well as his love of Mexican food, dogs, country music and camouflage. Kyle loved deeply and was deeply loved. He was a happy go-lucky kid and a country boy through and through. He enjoyed spending his time outside and doing everything his Dad did. He lived for adventures and loved hunting (turkey hunting was his favorite), fishing, trapping and the great outdoors. His favorite place was in the woods or by a river. The greatest assets in his life were his strong faith and trust in Jesus as his Savior.
From a young age Kyle loved music. He was often singing, dancing and making up songs. His popular hit "My Name is Johnny" will always be a favorite memory. As an adult he loved his guitar, affectionately named Darla, and enjoyed many hours playing her and writing songs. Baseball was one of Kyle's favorite sports. He grew up rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals (go Cards!), playing basketball and Little League baseball. He loved annual summer vacations to the Northwoods of Wisconsin where he fished, swam, hiked, enjoyed flashlight tag and bonfires with our Wisconsin "family." Hanging with his Ohio family were some of his favorite times.
Kyle's dad was his hero, his rock, his best friend. The two did everything together. Dave taught Kyle how to hunt, fish, trap, throw a baseball and hook a basketball shot, drive a stick shift (even though Kyle was waayyy too young to have a license), how to prepare for and start controlled burns along with a very important skill which Kyle learned on the fly how to move the truck by himself before fire engulfed it and while the soles of his shoes were melting when Kyle was only 12 (these are "adventures" not relayed to Mom for several years)! Most importantly, Dave showed Kyle the important things in life-loving God, family and others.
When Kyle was 13, Dave died suddenly from a heart attack. The two were running together and when they returned home, Dave collapsed and died shortly after. Several years later Kyle told us he blamed himself for his dad's death. Kyle silently carried this burden, this pain, deep in his heart. He put on a brave face but was deeply affected. He turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain; he said it made him feel good for the first time in years. At 17 Kyle began using opioids and this heavily impacted the rest of his life. The following few years were a lineage of treatment centers in various states, separated by times of sobriety and peace in his life. When he was himself we had great times together; he was happy, enjoying life, laughing and loving and living. We had many conversations - he did not want to use and did not want to die; the unrelenting pull of the disease was overpowering and continuously pulled him back in to his "mistress." A life-threatening overdose in November 2016 left Kyle with severe brain damage. He spent weeks in a coma in the ICU and several more months hospitalized. He was unable to talk, eat or move himself; although he was able to move his extremities a bit, he required full time care. Although he could not speak he was alert and knew everyone. He smiled, mimicked expressions, laughed at funny stores, rolled his eyes, shook his head he developed many ways to communicate, and it was clear that he was still very much his loving, sassy self. Some may ask, why would anyone want to live like that? What quality of life could he have? We struggled with the same questions at times, but Kyle made it clear to us-he wanted to live. He wanted to continue his life on earth, be with his family and friends. He fought so hard every day and continued to live and love and share his light wherever he went and with whomever he encountered. His last two years of life were not in complete misery nor in vain. We had many good times together and he continued to make friends in every environment. We marveled at his tenacity, admired, respected and loved him more and more deeply as our days together multiplied. We were given the beautiful gift of Kyle's continued life and are forever grateful.
We take comfort in the knowledge Kyle is in Heaven and with his dad, no doubt scouting out Heaven's woods and rivers. He is whole, healed, and free!
Please join us for a celebration of Kyle's life at Christian Fellowship Church, 4600 Christian Fellowship Road in Columbia, on Saturday, February 16th at 1 pm with visitation following from 2-3:30 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Kyle:
-Phoenix Programs Inc. is one of the places where Kyle spent time in recovery and felt supported. They service mid-Missourians through inpatient and outpatient substance use treatment programs. Please mail checks to: 90 East Leslie Lane, Columbia MO 65202
-National Wild Turkey Federation hosts an annual Governor's Youth Turkey Hunt, where kids are instructed and taken out on their first hunt in April each year. Please make checks payable to NWTF, write "Governor's Hunt" in the memo section and mail to: 7152 Tomahawk Lane, Steedman MO 65077
Addiction is a disease; it is not a moral failing. It can affect anyone. Those suffering from addiction, friends and families that love an addict, professionals who work to help others--all need support, information and community. A popular slogan in Al Anon is this simple phrase: "When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, let [someone] always be there...and let it begin with me." So that's what we will do. Far too long people have been silently suffering; it is time to speak up, support one another and end the stigma that follows addiction.
To those who have lost loved ones to substance abuse, those personally struggling, or those heartbroken praying and waiting for your loved one to find recovery from this vicious disease--our hearts and prayers are with you--today and every single day.
Speak out and reach out. We are rooting for you. You are not alone.