Thomas “Tommy” Henderson Hamilton, Jr. ’63

Thomas Henderson Hamilton, Jr. (Tommy) died peacefully on October 17, 2023 with friends and family by his side. Tommy was born on September 3rd 1941 in Kinston to Laura Marie Garland Hamilton and Dr. Thomas Henderson Hamilton, Sr., long-time minister of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Kinston.

Tommy lived his entire life in Kinston, except during his college years at Davidson and his military service as an officer in the Army Intelligence Agency, where he was deployed to the Dominican Republic. With a brilliant mind, as well as athletic and artistic talent, Tommy was a modern-day Renaissance man. He lettered in three sports while at Grainger High School and was the first high school student to hit a home run out of Grainger Stadium.

While at Davidson, Tommy played varsity baseball. He was scouted by professional teams, e.g., the New York Mets, but did not pursue baseball because of the military service his ROTC scholarship required.

Tommy was also an excellent and avid golfer, as well as card player, and could often be found at the Kinston Country Club engaging in one of those activities. Tommy was an excellent artist and chef; while he cooked everything, he particularly enjoyed Asian cuisines. He loved painting and cooking for family and friends. He regularly entertained his poker buddies in the 1990s and 2000s, and in his later years, he was a frequent preparer of food for his dear friends Adriana Paez and Betty Bruce Lawson.

Perhaps Tommy’s greatest talent, though, was the piano. A gifted musician, he could play almost anything by ear and could sit down at a piano anywhere (and frequently did) to perform for family, friends, and strangers. He truly loved classical music and spent years on the Board of the North Carolina Symphony, where he was also a regular concert-goer.

Tommy loved to travel, and he combined his love of travel, golf, and his two sisters — Maria and Laura — in his twice-yearly golfing trips with them and Maria’s husband Jim.

In addition to his extensive extra-curriculars, Tommy spent most of his professional life at Kinston High School: first as a teacher — he loved teaching English to high schoolers (and everyone, really!), and later in a computer-focused role. In the early 1980s, Tommy taught himself to code and was soon writing more complex programs. Lenoir County Schools hired him to coordinate the programs that managed grades for all students in the county.

Tommy is survived by his daughter, Elise Hamilton Ross (Douglas), and granddaughter Edelyn; his younger sisters Maria Garland Cockrum (Jim); Laura Hamilton Rawl (Honorable Victor Rawl, Sr.); his faithful friends Adriana Paez, Dr. Rudolph Mintz, and Connie Mintz; and his beloved cat Joshua. Graveside service will be held Thursday, November 9th at 2 p.m. in Westview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the North Carolina Symphony or WCPE.