Jack Allen Hamilton of Darboy/Appleton, formerly of Merrill, WI, passed away with his family at his side at Appleton Medical Center on Christmas Day, December 25, 2012, due to respiratory failure.
Jack was born August 20, 1941, in Rhinelander, WI, to Louis A. and Velma (Rude) Hamilton. When Jack was four, he moved with his family to Merrill, WI. Jack graduated from Merrill Senior High School in 1959. Jack played and lettered on the high school football team and later in life received the Merrill High School Silver and Golden M awards. He attended and graduated from the University of Montana-Missoula in 1965 with a degree in Forest Engineering. On September 12, 1964, he married his wife Pamela Jean Kanitz at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ in Merrill. After graduating from the University of Montana in 1965, Jack worked for Weyerhaeuser Papers on the west coast near Aberdeen, WA. He returned from out West to Wisconsin and worked for several years for Trees for Tomorrow in Merrill assisting private landowners in their Forest Management activity. In 1968 he began working for Wausau Papers within the mill as a process engineer for 6 years. Later, he had the opportunity to work in the Wausau Paper Mill Woodland Department, where he managed company land in the North and Northwest part of WI. In 1980 Jack began to work for Great Northern Nekoosa Paper Mill, which later became Georgia Pacific, then Domtar Corporation. In March, 2005 Jack suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that ended his career in forestry. Jack always remembered that he had worked for perhaps the smallest forestry corporation in America, Trees for Tomorrow and the largest in the world, Georgia Pacific.
While living in Merrill, Jack was very active in volunteering his time and talent. He was a member of the Merrill Jaycees and was a chairman of most of its committees and offices, including serving as President. He served on the Merrill Park and Recreation Department board for nine years, serving most of them as its secretary. Jack was also very active at St. Stephen’s church, serving as an usher, on the church council, taught Sunday school and served as youth group leader. He also was a Webelo den leader at Washington Elementary School. Jack himself attained the level of Eagle Scout in the 1958 along with his friends Bruce Giese, George Lewinnek and Lee Peterman. Jack was also an avid deer hunter and cross country skier. He competed numerous times in the American Birkebeiner, the largest cross country ski marathon in North America. After moving to Nekoosa, Jack continued to be active in his community by being a member of the Nekoosa Lion’s Club, serving on various committees and offices including President. During his children’s high school years, Jack was active in the Nekoosa Athletic Association. Following his stroke, a move to Appleton, WI, found Jack living in the Darboy community close to his son and family. While there he continued to volunteer during the pre-Christmas season beginning in 2006 for the Salvation Army ringing its bell at Festival Foods twice a week/4 hours per day while sitting in his electric wheelchair. The love of Jack’s life was his children and during later years his three grandchildren and a few grand dogs: Maxx, Bailey and Gabie, and his lap dog Julio.
Jack had great pride in participating in the United States and Wisconsin political process, and felt that voting is an important responsibility of all adults. During the last several years, Jack was very troubled by the political climate that evolved in Wisconsin. Jack often commented on his desire to discuss his thoughts with Wisconsin’s political leadership, in particular with Wisconsin’s current Governor. Due to Jack’s journey beyond Saint Peter’s gate, this discussion will likely never occur.
Jack is survived by his wife of 48 years, Pamela and their children Rodney and his wife Valorie (Gotz) and their children Jared and Carter Hamilton of Darboy, WI; his daughter Tamara and her husband Jason Walker and their daughter Clarissa of Janesville, WI. Jack is also survived by his sister Marie (Hamilton) Marrier and her husband Wayne J. Marrier of Merrill and nephew Andrew Marrier and wife Rachael (Knutson) and their children Chloe and Derek of Star Prairie, WI. Additional surviving family members include: brother-in-law A.P. (Bud) Kanitz; sister-in-law Cheryl Kanitz & her husband Scott Kasten of Merrill and his daughter Tara Kasten of West Bend. Jack is also survived by his step mother-in-law Lorna (Berndt) Kanitz, wife of his father-in-law Alfred Kanitz.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents Louis Hamilton (1963) and Velma (Rude) Hamilton (1960); his mother-in-law Alice Kanitz (1976) and his father-in-law Alfred A. Kanitz (2002).
Funeral Services for Jack were held on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at First Congregational Church, 724 E. South River St., Appleton with Rev. Jane Andersen officiating.
Memorials can be directed to:
In Merrill: The Pinery of the Merrill Historical Society or St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ.
In Appleton: First Congregational United Church of Christ or Salvation Army.