These days it would seem very few get the opportunity to depart this life surrounded by loved ones. Thankfully, Bud Hamilton was one of the few who was welcomed into the arms of the Lord on April 7, 2021 surrounded by his loved ones in Lenexa, Kansas. He departed just shy of his 90th birthday having been born into this life as George Earl Hamilton Jr. to Tamson (née Cutsler) and George Earl Hamilton Sr on April 11, 1931 in Youngstown, Ohio. All his life he was affectionately known as and responded to “Bud,” it is said that was the name of his mother’s former boyfriend.
Bud graduated from Chaney High School in Youngstown, Ohio in 1949. He attended Davis College in Binghamton, NY for one year and transferred to Bryan University in Dayton, TN. He then joined the service in 1954. He married the love of his life, Norma Jean Roberson, in Albuquerque, NM that same year. After discharge from the Army, Bud completed his education at the University of New Mexico in 1958. In terms of his professional life, he liked to say that he worked for three corporations and he made them what they are today — bankrupt...Chrysler, TWA and the Federal Government.
While most may go on to retire and play golf, Bud found his peace in gardening and was quite the visionary at his practice (with the help of sometimes extensive manual labor from his kids and grandkids which was paid for handsomely by the delicious meals Norma would provide.) Bud was also always the first to get the latest gadget or tech device and was certainly far ahead of his time. Sure, he’d have his grandkids help troubleshoot some issues here and there, but he was on top of his game when it came to all the latest and greatest devices.
Along the way he adopted many names/titles like son, brother, Buddy Boy, friend, husband, Buddykins, Dad, Papa Bear, Grandpa, and GDad. He had three children (all of which were nearly born either in the car or the hallway of the hospital due to his need to shower and shave or get an oil change before getting to the hospital,) Kimberlee (Tim) Donald, Mitchell Hamilton and Jeff (Deborah) Hamilton. They produced 4 grandchildren, Patrick VanBenthusen, Jeffrey (Vivian) Hamilton Jr., Natalie Sharp, and Rachelle Hamilton. What brightened his eyes are his two great-granddaughters, Remy and Rowan Hamilton.
Bud loved to sing, loved his family, and wholly loved his wife, his “Normie.” The love Bud and Norma shared was one that all who know them can attest to witnessing a true love story. Being married 66 years and experiencing all that they have, supporting one another, living in different states, raising three children and all the up & downs in life, seeing the love between them is truly unbelievable. They were both so much alike, in thought, in actions and knowing what the other was going to say or do. They never would argue or fight in front of their children, but if they ever had a disagreement they would talk it out behind closed doors. His love for his family and his one true love was what kept him fighting to the very end. The key to their success in marriage is communication, respect for one another and working together.
While Bud was driven in his life by the love he had for his family, the other constant driving force was his strong faith. He was always finding ways to help those around him find their comfort and connection with the Lord without ever pressuring or pushing his beliefs on anyone. He raised his children in the church and it was very important to him to lay the foundation in hopes that they would build on their faith from that upbringing. He would always offer guidance and help from scripture but wouldn’t ever push.
He was a true teacher on so many subjects, whether it was in faith, in finances, in life, or in loss. Always finding ways to share how to get a head start in life and savings or how to just take the time to take in the moment and truly savor the moment...or the meal. (Really, he would savor every meal, aka eat sooooo slowly.) All through his life he showed a tremendous amount of patience and kindness to all those he would help, teach or support; characteristics that aren’t so easy to come by these days. It should also be known that Bud was always present. He was present for kids/grandkids/great grandkid’s games, present for important and seemingly unimportant moments, present for the highs and the lows for his family members, always loving unconditionally and even when dealing in adversity remaining present and praying for the best possible outcome. He saw the best in people and was always willing to give anyone a chance...sometimes multiple chances if needed. (Unless you were a squirrel...he didn’t take too kindly to squirrels.)
He was so easy to love and easy to talk to; thus, knew no stranger. (In fact, he may have picked up a hitchhiker a time or two while vacationing in Jamaica.) It is a rare thing in life to come across true love, joy, and kindness, so much so that you don’t know what it looks like until you see it. But these rare glimpses of pure love were not rare for our family, we saw it every day. So often that perhaps we took it for granted. Silly jokes, stashed away candy, cheeky winks, singing, dancing, pranks, hugs, squeezes of the hand and standing at the door waving goodbye until you were no longer in eye’s sight... these are just some of the many joys that will be missed.
Bud is survived by his beloved and one true love, Norma Jean (née Roberson) Hamilton of Lenexa, KS; his children, Kimberlee Donald and her husband Tim of St. Cloud, FL, Jeffrey Hamilton Sr and his wife Deborah of Shawnee, KS; his grandchildren, Patrick VanBenthusen of Orlando, FL, Jeffrey Hamilton Jr. and his wife Vivian of Overland Park, KS, Natalie Sharp of Scotland, Rachelle Hamilton of Los Angeles, CA, Anthony Barklow of Shawnee, KS, Brittany Oliver of Shawnee, KS; his great grandchildren, Remy and Rowan Hamilton of Overland Park, Blaze Barklow of Shawnee, KS, and Archer and Amy Oliver of Shawnee, KS; his brother, Richard Hamilton and his wife Carol of Carolina Shores, North Carolina; and the rest of his family and friends.
Bud is preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Tamson Hamilton; his son, Mitch Hamilton; and his granddaughter, Karli VanBenthusen.
Bud was loved by so many for his kindness and keen sense of humor and will be sorely missed. Our hearts are broken, but we are so much better to have known and been loved by him. Rest In Peace, we love you and will see you again soon.
Norma requests, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made in Bud Hamilton’s name to the Chi Alpha Christian Ministries at UCLA to help support his granddaughter’s missions at this link.
or Venmo: @XA_Bruin.
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