Colonel Thomas Martin Hamilton, 86, flew his final mission surrounded by family on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Born December 10, 1926 at Hahnemann Hospital and raised in Philadelphia, PA, he was the son of the late William S. Hamilton and Ethel (McNabb) Hamilton, who relocated to Miami, Florida in the 1940s. He graduated from the University of Miami, Florida in June 1951 with a degree in Fine Arts and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force via AFROTC. He served his country in three branches of the military: the Merchant Marines, the USMC, and the USAF and in three wars: WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He was a Command Pilot with over 5000 flying hours and 511 combat missions. After a distinguished flying career, he transitioned to command positions, most notably Commander of the 31st CSG at Homestead AFB, Florida and the Group Commander for the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia until his retirement in 1979. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, MSM, AM with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, JSCM, and AFCM.
Marty, as he was known to family and close friends, was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Virginia May (Sheldon) Hamilton and his brother, William S. Hamilton of Santa Clara, California and Key West, Florida. He is survived by his two daughters and three sons: Kathleen O. Ferris of Hampton, Virginia, Linda Hamilton-O'Sullivan, of Glendale, Arizona, Thomas M. Hamilton, Jr., of Newport News, VA, Matthew S. Hamilton of St. Louis, Missouri, and David P. Hamilton, of Rockwood, Tennessee; his sister-in-law, Bea Hamilton of Key West, Florida; former son-in-law, George Ferris of Saluda, VA; his nephew, Robert Hamilton (Sharon), and nieces, Patty Roman (Alan), Jeannie Hamilton (Rich Buikema), and his grandchildren, Billy Ferris (Jessie Douglas), Kristy Pauley (Mike), Annie Heeney ( Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Heeney), Captain Luke O'Sullivan, Katie O'Sullivan, Tommy O'Sullivan, Rachael Hamilton, Sarah Hamilton, Samuel Hamilton, Amanda H. Sporer (Joshua), Joshua Hamilton, and great-grandchildren, Jazmine Staples, Kayla Pauley, Tatiana Douglas, William Ferris, Jr., Isabella Heeney, and Evan Hamilton; three great-nieces, Nikki and Katie Roman, and Mia Hamilton; and his little dog, Daisy, his constant companion for 15 years, who he teasingly referred to as his little girlfriend.
He was a man of honor, patriotism, and integrity who loved and served his country with distinction and had a passion for flying; he was known for his wicked sense of humor and practical jokes, as well as the passion and vitality with which he loved his family; he was an extraordinary artist and painter, and in the 21 moves he made over 30 years, he left a legacy of homes that were more beautiful from his remodeling and craftsmanship. He loved to be in nature and especially on the water and recalled fond memories of being on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during WW II, in awe of the panorama of stars. He was a man who appreciated the finer things in life…beautiful women, gourmet food, fine art, a Cuban cigar and a glass of port, a hearty laugh over a bon mot, or a funny joke. He and his beloved Ginny were known for the fun parties they hosted throughout their career as an Air Force couple. He will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him and his legacy will live on through his family and the memories they hold dear.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8:00 PM on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home, 2551 N. Armistead Avenue, Hampton, VA, 23666. A graveside service with full military honors will be held on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 11: 00 AM at Parklawn Memorial Park, followed by a reception at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Salvation Army or a charity of your choice.
Friends are encouraged to visit www.parklawn-woodfh.com
to share memories and condolences with the family and to view his artwork at www.hamptonroadsgiclee.com.