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Robert HAMILTON


1931 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Robert HAMILTON Obituary
HAMILTON, Robert Woodruff "Bob" Robert Woodruff (Bob) Hamilton, a longtime and widely-respected law professor, lawyer, and legal education writer, died at the age of 86 on January 13, 2018. Bob Hamilton joined the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin in 1964. For the next forty years, he taught thousands of students the basics of contracts, business associations, and related subjects until retirement in 2004. A popular teacher, he also wrote numerous law textbooks. During the height of his career, some of his textbooks were in use at the vast majority of US law schools, evidence that supports that this intelligent man, gifted in his law ability, was also very good at making his field understandable to others. Bob was a stalwart friend to many, had a sense of humor that his wife Dagmar sometimes describes as impish, and was quietly devoted to his family. He enjoyed socializing with colleagues, neighbors, friends, and in the earlier years of his teaching career, his students in large end-of-semester beer busts held around the swimming pool at his house in then-remote West Lake Hills. Bob was drawn to informed conversationtypically social, economic, political, or technological discussions interested him the mostand encouraged all voices to be heard. If you had an assertion and support for your argument that might be different from his, you had his attention. Bob was devoted to the law, but was not given to talking about his field outside the law school. He believed that law should craft the best results. The underdog should have a fair shake. Skepticism and inquiry were valued, perhaps more than specific knowledge. An introvert, Bob nonetheless enjoyed teaching immensely. In the spotlight of the classroom he saw himself as performer, modeling the skills needed for outstanding lawyering: command and concise articulation of relevant facts and law, the argument, verbal jousting. He earned several teaching awards from his students. Bob's work ethic was legendary. Weekdays, he would settle in his office before 7:00 a.m. to take advantage of the quiet before others arrived and stay until shortly before 5:00 p.m. An hour or so of work at home after supper. Weekends, he slacked off by arriving at 8:00 a.m. at the law school, but it was even quieter and he only stayed until noon. Weekend afternoons typically afforded him the opportunity to relax at home watching sports on television while grading exams, editing, or writing. Bob was born in Syracuse, New York on March 4, 1931 to budding economists Irene Till and Harold Glasser. The couple divorced the following year; for the earliest years of his life Bob lived first with his maternal grandparents, Edward and Frances Till in Syracuse, and then in boarding school at a tender age. In 1937, Irene married Walton H. Hamilton, a renowned economist, law professor at Yale University, and New Deal policy maker in Washington. "Hammy" adopted Bob and became a positive role model for young Bob. After attending public schools in the Washington D.C. area, Bob spent his junior and senior years at the Kiskiminetas Springs School in western Pennsylvania, graduating valedictorian in 1948. Bob chose to attend Swarthmore College. He majored in economics and math, swam varsity, and joined Phi Sigma Kappa. Most importantly while at Swarthmore, he met his future wife, Dagmar (Dag) Sjostrom Strandberg, who was a class behind him. He graduated with High Honors in 1952. Bob next attended the University of Chicago Law School on a 3-year, full-tuition scholarship. Bob and Dag married in June 1953 in Philadelphia following Dag's college graduation. She entered the Chicago law school that fall as Bob started his second year. Bob published in and was managing editor of the Chicago Law Review, was a member of the Order of the Coif, and graduated second in his class in 1955. Bob clerked for Justice Tom C. Clark during the 1955 term of the US Supreme Court. Bob next joined the law firm of Gardner, Morrison, and Rogers, first as an associate and then as a junior partner. Attorney Seymour Sheriff was an excellent corporate law mentor to Bob. But after 8 years, teaching law became more and more appealing to Bob. He received competing offers from the University of Virginia and the University of Texas Law Schools. He chose Texas and never looked back. At Texas, Bob taught mainly Administrative Law, Business Associations, and Contracts. In addition to teaching and writing, he supported the legal systems of Texas and the US, serving on many panels and committees over the years. In the 1970s, he chaired hearings on radioactive waste management at Hanford, WA and Carlsbad, NM and served on an FDA panel reviewing the operation of rules on new drugs. He was Research Director to the Administrative (Law) Conference of the US in 1973-74. In addition to textbooks, he wrote many articles, reviews, and contributions to other legal books. At retirement, his casebook on corporations was in its 8th edition. Bob taught as a visiting professor at the law schools of the Universities of Minnesota, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis, and Maine. He also taught at Queen Mary College of Law in London and was a visiting fellow at Wolfson College in Oxford. His heart remained in Austin, however, and he always returned. Bob served for 12 years as Chairman of the UT Co-op. Under his counsel and leadership, the Co-op experienced a period of substantial growth. Bob was especially proud and honored when the Co-op established the Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards, which annually recognizes new books written by UT faculty. Bob served as councilman to the City of West Lake Hills, 1968-1970, as chairman of the Zoning and Planning Commission, 1983-1987, and in other civic duties. Bob is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dagmar; children, Eric Clark (Jan Jackson), Randy (Jennie Caughran), Meredith (Miles Draycott); 7 grandchildren; brother, Douglas Hamilton (Penny Clarke); and sisters Leslie Hamilton (Larry Gmeiner), Alice Glasser Inglis, and Linda Glasser Zises; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was very close to Dag's first cousins. For many years, the family has spent time together at Bob and Dag's summer house on Cushing Island, in Casco Bay, Portland, Maine. Bob suffered from Alzheimer's disease for many years. The Hamilton family thanks the staff at Belmont Village Westlake Hills for their care of Bob since 2014. Our heartfelt gratitude also goes to private caregivers Juan Bran and Reginald Harper; and Mario Samaras, longtime family friend and excellent caregiver. We appreciate very much the help of Halcyon Hospice, including nurses, social worker, and chaplains. A special thanks to Bob's niece Nancy Hamilton Reyes (Nestor) for her violin concerts which brightened the life of Bob and other residents of the "Neighborhood" during the last years of his life. A memorial for Bob will be held on Saturday, February 17, at the chapel of the Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church. The service will be at 11 a.m., followed by a catered lunch. A scholarship is being made in memory of Professor Hamilton. Anyone wishing to contribute may send check payable to Dean's Scholarship Excellence Fund, The Law School Foundation, 727 E Dean Keeton St, Austin, TX 78705; or go online at: www.utlsf.org/hamilton. Bob was a dog lover. A memorial gift in Bob's name may be sent to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, 611 Granite Springs Road, Yorktown Hts, NY 10598.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Feb. 3, 2018
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