Dear Friends and Family of my dear Father Charles Hamilton,
I write this with a very heavy heart, however, we also celebrate a life well lived and a passing filled with love and dignity.
My Dad, as my Brother Rick recently stated, lived a charmed life. Born December 9, 1924 in Mulberry, Kansas, He grew up in a secure loving home with parents who adored him. They moved to Minneapolis in 1935 where his Dad opened up a Sign Shop and had a successful career as a billboard/truck/sign painter. He taught his Son the trade.
Chuck (as he liked to be called), went to the University of Minnesota and was learning to be Pharmacist. When he saw boys joining up to fight in WWII, He joined up too, ending up in France as a medic. He didn’t like leaving because of his budding relationship with my Mom but she waited for him and they were married on June 1, 1946. Charmed in that he came back at all and without the physical scars of the War and was able to process and handle the visual scars.
I think after they were married he worked at Bergman’s Dept. Store as a model, while he went to the Minnesota Institute of Arts and got his first job in the advertising world at Brown and Bigelow. May be his buddy Al Stoltz has more clarity on this. You think you know so much about your parents until they are gone and then it’s to late.
Mom and Dad were living in an apartment in Minneapolis when my Brother Rick was born January 10, 1949. Then moved to a little prefab house in Crystal not sure as to the dates on that either but I was brought back to that house when I was born on March 15, 1955. Dad was hired by Haas Display somewhere around then. They built displays for companies to take to Trade Shows. He did everything from design, build and sell to his clients.
He was one of the most talented people I have ever known. He designed the house we moved to in 1959 and the garage/shop and house in Turtle Lake. He loved to work with wood and metal. Mom and Dad would paint the inside of our house sometimes once a year with geometric designs and different colors. He built a redwood canoe that my Husband Ken and I enjoy to this day. When we take it out people always comment on how beautiful it is. He and Mom built our little Pop-Up camper called “Perpetual Picnic”. Ken and I just bought a Pop-Up; it brings back such good memories of our trips. No matter if, we went to Colorado, Wyoming, Canada or Medicine Lake 20 miles from our house. They would pack us up for a weekend of camping, fishing, swimming and card playing (that would be with Mom, Dad hated games). Dad never bought anything unless it was impossible for him to make, like a car! He later became VP at Haas display and retired sometime in the mid to early 90’s.
He was a devoted Son as well as a husband. He and Mom took care of my Grandparents business while the visited their house in Florida as well as their own jobs and lives. Grandpa passed away in 1983 at the age of 80 after a long illness, but Grandma lived to be 99 yrs. and 10 months passing on January 31st 2000, ironically, my Mom passed on the same day 17 years later.
They were finally able to move full time up to their house on Silver Lake, 7 miles from Turtle Lake Wisconsin. Dad LOVED that house! So did Mom but Dad, Rick and few other helpers built that place from the ground up so it was a labor of love. I can’t remember exactly when it was finished but Dad was so sad when they sold the place and moved to Minneapolis, saying, “He didn’t get enough time there”. I think he said they had 15 wonderful years.
Turtle Lake became there home. Dad was involved with the VFW, marching in parades and helping at Smelt Fries. For you non Midwesterners Smelt are a little bigger than minnows, you fry and eat them. I don’t remember not liking them bones and all. He painted a sign for the Township of Beaver that is there today. Mom and Dad developed close relationships with their neighbors and missed them so much when they had to move to Minneapolis. It was getting harder and harder for Dad to take care of the place and to climb the 20 steps to get to the main floor. We moved them to independent living at the Masonic Home in Bloomington in May of 2012. Mom fell, hit her head and ended up in the hospital with a concussion and hematoma on the brain. She was very lucky but it really started her downward spiral. She lost her sense of taste and accelerated her hearing loss, macular degeneration, dementia and general unsteadiness. They finally consented to move to Colorado to be near us. On May 31, 2014, I flew them to Colorado while Rick and his wife Patsy did the road trip with a truck full of their things. Dad was Mom’s primary care giver until they moved from their independent living house to assisted living in February of 2016. Dad was still able to build a tool bench with drawers and an artist’s table called a Taboret, while living independently.
His life became smaller when he lost his beloved tools and then Mom took her final fall and ended up in a nursing home. He visited her 6 days a week. Charming everyone, he met. After 10 months in the home Mom passed on January 31, 2017. She was 91 and 1 month. Dad, Patsy, Rick and I all helped each other through Mom’s long journey.
After Mom passed, Dad rallied and had some good times. He went to exercise every day, went on outings and took art classes. He particularly like a “Great Course” learning about the Civil War and the Gilded Age. He always kept learning and being interested in the world. His Grandson Tyler and I took him to the Denver Art Museum in June. We had a blast soaking up some culture and an excellent lunch after. It was the same day as the Denver Gay Pride Parade so Dad had lots of entertainment. Two weeks before he passed my dear Friend Mary and I took him to the Denver Botanic Gardens. It was a beautiful day, filled with flora and fauna. I am so grateful to have had that day with him.
His kidneys are what finally got him. He was on antibiotics that messed with his blood thinner. When they said there was nothing else they could do for him, we moved to “Comfort Care” where we all stayed with him until everyone was exhausted. I sent them home and stayed until at 4:00 am on September 4th when he slipped peacefully away.
It was very hard but such an honor and privilege to be there with him until he made his transition. He was so brave and calm, cute and funny until he couldn’t speak anymore.
My Dad was never old his body just wore out. We will miss him and Mom for eternity and am hoping that what they believed is true, reunited with all that have gone before them. So very grateful to have had such loving and caring Parents.
Memorial Service to be held for both Dorothy and Charles at Parkview Methodist Church in Turtle Lake, WI on 10/9 at 11am
Charles Lewis Hamilton was born on December 9, 1924 to Lenore and Albert Hamilton in Mulberry, Kansas. He made his transition on September 4, 2017. Charles parents moved to Minneapolis in 1935 and he lived there most of his life. He was a WWII veteran serving in the Army as a Medic. He and wife Dorothy were devoted to each other and had 70 and ½ years of marriage. They moved to Silver Lake, near Turtle Lake, Wisconsin fulltime in around 2000. Where they enjoyed living on the lake and all it has to offer. Charles, his son Rick and a few helpers built the house on Silver Lake. It was his dream house. He could make just about anything and spent hours in his shop wood working and creating, Menard’s was his favorite place next to the lake. He worked in Minneapolis for Haas Display until he retired in the early 90’s. He is preceded in passing by his parents and his wife Dorothy and survived by his Son and Daughter in Law Rick and Patsy Hamilton of Castle Rock, Colorado, Daughter and Son In Law Cindy Hamilton and Ken Brecheisen of Boulder, Colorado, Granddaughter Erin Hamilton of Alexandria, Virginia, Grandson Tyler Stocker of Arvada, Colorado and Nephew David Olson of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Words cannot describe how we will be missed.