Rest in Peace Ed Hamilton. You Will Be Missed
Most of us have known larger than life figures over the years. As South Bostonians, current and former, we may be blessed to know a larger number of them than most people from other places. It’s the nature of our community. We’ve had and still do have perhaps more than our share of great people to call friends and neighbors. Sad to say, we lost yet another one of the greats this week. Ed Hamilton passed away at the age of 93 and the town will hardly be the same without his smiling, familiar face.
Most residents, including many of our newer arrivals knew Ed. He was often out and about walking up and down L Street, along Broadway, at the markets, at Cumberland Farms, pretty much everywhere, meeting and greeting locals with that friendly smile ready to make polite conversation with anyone around. People happily responded to him, because he was such a sincere and pleasant guy. In fact, in recent years, someone thought enough of him to post fliers on lamp posts, trees and in windows wishing him Happy Birthday each year, when the day came around. He was that popular.
And while South Boston was his home town, he also had an impact, a positive impact, in many other places as well. Because as we all know, Edwin ‘Ed’ Hamilton was a genuine war hero, like so many of our other local vets, who have served and continue to serve our country with honor and valor. He was a World War II veteran, a member of what’s accurately called The Greatest Generation, who served with distinction in the United States Navy. He was a veteran of many battles in the Pacific and was highly decorated for his service. Ed served on the USS Bennet DD-473. He held the rank of Seaman 1st Class, Gunners Mate and Helmsman. He helped play a role in landing the US Marines at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In fact, he was in 9 major battles during his time in the Navy and received many medals; including for bravery for his actions.
So impressive was Ed Hamilton, that he had been invited by the Navy to be a participant several times for events in Hawaii during the annual Pearl Harbor Day ceremonies. He was even the invited guest of honor and asked to speak and share his stories and experiences with the young students at Hawaiian schools while there. The kids were fascinated and held spell bound listening to Ed and were thrilled at the way he was able to relate to people of every age. He even had local TV cameras following him around the Island of Oahu happy to interview him.
I was honored to know Ed for many years. I can still remember first being introduced to him as a boy by my father who also served in WW II as a United States Marine. While walking to the corner store one day, my Dad and I ran into him. They knew each other well and greeted one another with that brotherly warmth that is so often shared by fellow vets. They both served in the Pacific during that war and had much in common. The mutual respect between the two of them was apparent and it was then that I was introduced to this good man. He was tall in stature with that military bearing but spoke kindly and with a genuine sincerity. After that, it was always a treat to run into Mr. Hamilton who politely instructed me to call him ‘Ed’ once I reached the age of 18. And I did. I took it as an order to be obeyed.
Ed Hamilton had many good characteristics and chief among them was being a loving husband to his late wife Melba and a great father to his children, Melba, Laura, Patricia and Leslie. His family will miss him dearly as will this entire community.
There are some people who you meet in life that you feel will always be around, maybe because it’s just too difficult to imagine them not being here. But while Ed Hamilton may no longer walk among us on Earth, his spirit and memory will remain. There is no doubt that he has gone on to his special place in Heaven that he surely deserves. Rest in Peace Ed. Thank you for being a great neighbor, a good friend and a positive influence to so many of us. Thank you also for your service to our country. God Bless You.