Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS


Ross Hamilton

Ross Hamilton

I want to spend a few minutes remembering my father. He has been dead for nearly 32 years. Many of those years I was angry at him for dying at age 63, because he left me here to cope by myself. Today I’m thinking about him because I am knowing his emotions and how this understanding helps me to know myself.

Ross Edwin Hamilton was the middle son of five boys. He was born in Ontario, Canada to a Canadian Pacific Railroad engineer from Scotland and his gracious wife Alice, who was a nurse. Alice was also the Methodist Church organist.  It was discovered she had TB and still she continued to care for other people until it was too late and she died.  Several years later, while his father was cleaning his rifle after a successful hunting trip, one of the boys playing around picked up the gun and fatally shot him.  Each of the boys was sent off to live with a different one of his mother’s aunts.

Ross was sent to a dairy farm in near Saskatoon Saskatchewan. His mother had managed to leave each of the boys a small amount of education money. That money was soon spent on the farm. Ross lived above the dairy cows in the barn, and every morning he drove the wagon school bus or the sleigh and picked up all the children dropped them at the school, handed his homework over to the teacher, and proceeded to go home and work. He absolutely loved the workhorses that were part of his job. When the farmyard was too muddy he often rode the hog across the yard to keep his shoes in good form. His other great love was the railroad.

He put himself through university by stoking the boilers, working in a school for the deaf, being an engineer on the train, and maintaining a factory job with the Canada Dry Company.  He was considered brilliant.

Ross’s first job after university was as the principal, hockey coach, and upper level teacher for a small rural school district. His future wife taught first grade and was responsible for every child in the first grade being able to ice skate.

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. His primary job was to make sure every enlisted man received a high school diploma. He was constantly changing ships and struggling to find resources to teach from, consequently he learned navigation from the stars and how to tie every knot in the book!

He only talked about three things of his war experience which were 1.) never serve him cottage cheese or brussel sprouts, 2.) always be respectful and a gentleman, and 3.) every human being deserves to live their life to the fullest (this was from liberating the concentration camps and work camps).

Ross received his Doctoral Certification in Education from Columbia University in New York City. In my lifetime, I have heard my father being described as the Einstein of Education many times.  He came to Washington State as Director of Special Education and his team created the school systems that were the best in the nation.

His friend Helen Keller introduced him to Rose Kennedy; he was interviewed numerous times by Pres. Kennedy and was packing up his household to become Secretary of Education when Pres. Kennedy was killed. Thus began seven years of various periods of unemployment. He did some work in Canada for one of his brothers, he was superintendent of schools in New Jersey — covering for a heart attack, and he spent every summer teaching summer school all over the country.

He finally returned to his beloved West Coast and created systems for disabled and mentally challenged individuals to be able to live in group homes and give their parents freedom while they made parts for Boeing Airlines and other mechanical systems with precision. These individuals worked good jobs, made excellent money and gave back to their community.

When he discovered his body was full of cancer he researched and did everything he could finally choosing hospice. He made me promise two things which were to take care of my mother and to understand what he called his farm cancer. I have completed those two tasks.

What I am remembering today is a life and an unexpected lesson taught. Unemployment is the same lesson as grief — — as mourning. Every day when you arise one needs to recognize the emotions and then make a choice of what they are going to do; sometimes the choice comes on an hourly basis. This is how you become the Einstein of yourself.

I have heard it said that the best remembrance of all is to say the name out loud of someone who’s gone. I have done a little storytelling with my name-calling here and I would like to ask you to write the names in the comment section of someone you would like to remember. I will gather up all the names and on Remembrance Day/ Memorial Day all 100 members of my International Prayer Group will say the names aloud.

If you like what you read here and would like to read more you can subscribe via RSS or e-mail. Please feel free to share this post with the share buttons provided below.

If you would like to support this blog you can make a donation using the donate button in the right-hand column.

If you purchase items from Amazon.com from this website I will receive a few beans in my bucket exclamation

Related reading:
Lessons from the Dead
12 Reasons I want you to read this Book
Hannah Coulter
Inner Productivity

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 Responses to “Memorial”

  1. Talon Says:

    I love that you honored his memory and his requests, Patricia. I’m sorry you lost him too soon.

    I’m thinking of my oldest brother today and every day. Peter passed away 13 years ago this week. He was only 47 and left a beautiful wife and two amazing sons behind.

    You are right about the mourning process – it applies to so many more things than the loss of life.
    Talon recently posted..Order and ChaosMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I hear you about your loss and will add Peter’s name to our Memorial Day reading list.

    You are in my thoughts

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    What a beautiful memorial.
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..When You Eat Crap- You Feel Like CrapMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you vered

  3. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Lovely memorial to your father. I read your last post – that book sounds wonderful – so here’s another for my list! I’m thinkin Christmas – and thats only if I read fast til then with no interruptions!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for you kind words….the last book and website are fabulous

    My list of books is staggering and I have an other review coming up in 16 days and I haven’t started the book…

    I have been working on my new site Wise Ears…up and running and opening soon…I am open for making some money here

    Happy Weekend to you – up to the cabin yet?

  4. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. what an amazing father and man – he just got on with life, as they did in those days .. he sounds so erudite, and so giving of his life .. Perhaps a general special prayer for all souls now gone, or soon to be .. with a memorial thought for those left, who wonder why sometimes – but that is known and will be revealed.

    With thoughts and so pleased to have met your father here in your pages .. be peaceful .. Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Judy Croome – how much pleasure a parcel can bring My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes I think we need lots of remembering and prayer in this our holiday weekend. At my mum’s memorial service 4 years ago, one of the neighbor’s now grown son, referred to my parents and the King and Queen of our community.
    They just got up everyday and did what they needed to do and “left the world just a bit better for their having been here.”
    Patricia recently posted..Unfinished Business- One Man’s Extraordinary Year of Trying to do the Right Things Lee KravitzMy Profile

  5. Arts Web Show Says:

    A truly special person.
    Hats off to you for blogging publicly about what i’m sure feels like a very personal subject

    Patricia Reply:

    You would have enjoyed hearing him sing Home, Home on the Range – he was tone deaf but so loved treating us to his amazing version of silliness and fun

    Change is interesting work but so vital for finding the meanings of our life.
    Patricia recently posted..Unfinished Business- One Man’s Extraordinary Year of Trying to do the Right Things Lee KravitzMy Profile

  6. Brownpaperbaggirl Says:

    What a life. An excellent memorial of a great man. Truly, all each of us can do is leave the world a little better place.

    Patricia Reply:


    I appreciate your nice words here too Thank you.

    Your cowboy poem made me think of his love for the big work horses on the farm…and how this tone deaf fellow would belt out Home, Home on the Range!

  7. Julie Says:

    Thank you for sharing these posts. I enjoyed the video you shared immensely, especially when he talked about children identifying with their mothers and their ability to take on traits instantly. It’s as if we do enter the person’s mind of the one we love and they do somehow become part of us.

    As far as remembrance, I say now in this moment the names out loud, Yia Yia, pronounced YIy, Ya, Norman or Grandpa, Dorothy or Grandma, Sue or Suzanne Overall, she liked both, Dave Spensor, Tom Bison, Brian Jerry and Populi. Thank you.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you again for your kind words..and I thought the video of David Brooks too was just amazing. The book really is worth the effort.

    Thank you for saying the names out loudly and sharing with us here at our Memorial

    Such a pleasure to find you here this morning :)
    Loved your painting