Philip T. Hamilton, 89, died Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, at Golden Living Sycamore Village. He had struggled with Alzheimer’s disease for several years. Phil was born July 28, 1924, in Gary. He was the second son of two librarians, William James and May (Wessberg) Hamilton. He spent many of his early summers at his family’s farms in Maple Plain, Minn., where he learned to rise early and work hard, traits that stayed with him the rest of his life.
After schooling at Case Western Reserve and Fairview High School (Dayton), Phil attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he majored in English Literature, but mostly was interested in running track. He was the Mid American Conference sprint champion in the late ‘40s. He also worked in the library at Miami, where he met Thelma Cornelius, and immediately knew she was to be his wife.
Phil completed his education with a master in library science from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He then worked at libraries in Evansville and Seymour before moving to Kokomo in 1957. He was the director of the Kokomo Public Library for 25 years, then finished his career as director of the Gary library system, in the footsteps of his father.
Phil loved gardening — planting and pruning fruit trees and grape arbors — boating and fishing. He camped/RVed throughout the United States. Phil and Thelma spent lots of time antiquing, partying with friends and attending many IU and Miami football games. Phil was a member of the Y’s Men, Rotary Club, Elks 190, Moose Lodge, Kokomo Kennel Club and was president of the Kokomo Humane Society. He also served as president of the Indiana State Library Association, and was active in many state library activities.
Over the years, their family had pets of all kinds, including numerous cats, a raccoon, a goat, a cockatiel, but especially dogs. Among his favorite breeds were boxers and Bouvier des Flandres, which he bred, trained and competed with in central Indiana dog shows.
He is survived by his wife, Thelma Hamilton, Kokomo; three sons, Jim, Scot (Pamela) Hamilton, Kokomo, and Edd (Tonia) Hamilton, Golden, Colo.; one daughter, Lucinda (Scott) Fenske, River Hills, Wis.; grandchildren, Susan (Matt) Ricci, West Lafayette, Erica and Heidi Fenske, River Hills, Wis., Sarah and Nathan Philip Hamilton, Golden, Colo., and Amelia Hamilton, Kokomo; and two great-grandchildren, Jackson and Eloise Ricci, West Lafayette.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Carl Hamilton, who was also a librarian.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at First Congregational Christian Church, 505 W. Mulberry St., with Pastors Jon Tice and Morgan Young officiating. Burial will follow in Crown Point Cemetery. Friends are invited to visit from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory Lincoln Road Chapel, 1315 W. Lincoln Road.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Kokomo Humane Society, First Congregational Christian Church Elevator Fund, or the Kokomo YMCA Building Fund. Messages of condolence may be left at www.shirleyandstout.com.