Ethel Hamilton


image of Ethel Hamilton

Ethel Hamilton

On December 9, just shy of her 104th birthday, Ethel Hamilton died of natural causes at a resident care facility in Seattle.  The youngest of eight children, she was born on a farm in central Kansas at 9 pm on Christmas Eve 1919.  Her slightly older brother told his mom he wanted a red wagon for Christmas rather than a red-faced baby.  That brother grew up to be a professional football player and she a beautiful young woman.  She graduated from Geneseo High School and, at age 17, married Glen Hamilton.  Together they owned and operated a dryland wheat and cattle farm outside of Geneseo Kansas. She was born to a life of farming before indoor plumbing and electricity. She trained her two children to bathe in two inches of water and dress in a stone cold room before going to school.  She made pancakes every morning and, during harvest, fed all the farm hands fried chicken and mashed potatoes. The dustbowl years in the late 1930s during the Great Depression, when wheat was selling at 25 cents a bushel, she recalled, were especially difficult.

They retired from farming in 1985 and moved to be close to their son, Gary Hamilton, a professor of sociology, first to Davis, California, and in 1993 to Seattle.  The life after farming was especially rewarding.  They loved walking, hiking, and birding.  They travelled in Asia and Europe, as well as the U.S.  They were active in the Presbyterian Church and the Ballard Senior Center.  After her husband of seventy years died in 2008, she reinvented herself in her 80s; moved into a retirement community; voted Democrat after being a lifelong Republican; explored the cultural life of Seattle; went to concerts, theater, and museums; joined two book clubs; and enjoyed eating out in nice restaurants.  In 2016, she moved into an independent apartment where she lived with her daughter, Carol Brown, who took care of her until the month before she died.

She was a woman of indomitable spirit and resolute intelligence. She remained in charge of her life until close to the end.  She insisted on holding the local newspaper in her lap even when she could no longer read. One of her final requests was to have a watch with large numbers so she could see the time. The week she died she had her hair done and her nails painted.

In addition to her daughter and son, she is survived by two grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and seven great-great grandchildren.  We all loved her.  She was a force, the strongest most indomitable spirit we have known, all 86 pounds of her.

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful. Disrespectful comments will not be published

When you have successfully submitted a comment, look in the space above to see your comment.

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

If you do not see your comment, click HERE