Grif Hamilton, beloved husband, father, grandfather and uncle, passed Aug. 12, 2014 at Sutter Roseville Medical Center with family by his side. He was 75.
A memorial service and reception will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 18, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Grass Valley, Calif.
Major Grifford Elton Hamilton, USAF (retired) was born Jan. 6, 1939, in Celina, Ohio, to the late Willard Scott Hamilton and Opal Lena Hamilton. At the age of 10, his family moved to California and settled in Lindsay, Calif., where he graduated from Lindsay High School. At 19, he enlisted in the USAF to play the trombone in the 15th Air Force Band at March AFB. He went on to become a commissioned officer, and later earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. While stationed at Mather AFB, he met and married Mary Kathryn Hagen, with whom he had four children. The military took Grif and his family to many parts of the U.S. and ultimately to Clark AFB in the Philippines. He retired to Grass Valley, where he lived the past 34 years. He suffered a long and debilitating battle with oral cancer, but his strength, determination, and love for his family kept him going.
One of Grif’s proudest achievements was winning the Strategic Air Command Combat Competition in 1969, where he flew as radar-navigator with his fellow B-52 bombardier crewmen. They took home the Fairchild Trophy, and went on to win England’s top award, the Blue Shield Trophy. He co-founded the Fort Stotsenberg Polo Club at Clark AFB, and then designed and built his family’s home upon his retirement.
He loved to hike, camp, water ski and play polo. In his later years, he cherished time with his grandchildren, often taking them for hikes around the Empire Mine. As his health declined, he found solace in books, tending to his rose garden, and tinkering around the house with remodeling projects. Grif never knew a stranger and was the life of the party before his illness. He will be deeply missed.
Grif leaves behind his beloved wife of 53 years, Mary Hamilton; his daughter, Carla,; her husband, Sam and their two children, Sean and Nick all of Louisville, Colo.; his daughter, Julie and daughter Dana, her husband, Bob and their two children, Megan and Lindsay; his son, Brett and his wife, Kristin all of Grass Valley; his brother, Dexter Hamilton and his wife, Pat of Kalispell, Mont.; his brother-in-law, Larry Fultz of Lindsay; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Karen Fultz of Lindsay.
Contributions in memory of Grif Hamilton may be made to: Travis Fisher House, 100 Bodin Circle, Travis AFB, CA 94535-1804. The Fisher House served as his “home away from home” on several occasions during his many medical treatments.