- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
Born April 17, 1931, at Goodhope On September 6, 2005, Duane Hamilton died at the age of 74. He was born April 17, 1931, at Goodhope.
From his mother Araminta (Huff), who read to him as a child, Duane learned the love of reading –– he would later collect a library of almost 8,000 volumes. From his father Marcus, who depended upon him for help on the farm, he learned the ethic of hard work that he practiced throughout his life.
Because life in the Ozarks was difficult during the Great Depres-sion, when he was twelve Duane’s parents paid off their debts and moved him and his younger sisters Shirley and Nolita to Kennewick, Washington, to work at a wheat ranch. However, his father’s homesickness led the family to return to Missouri in July of 1947 — this time accompanied by a new baby brother Chelsea.
In 1948, Duane became ill with typhoid fever but the prayers of his family and those at the Rome Free Methodist Church resulted in his recovery and a commitment to serving Christ.
In 1949 Duane graduated from Ava High School where — despite his four year absence from the Douglas County School system — he was elected both senior class president and captain of the foot-ball team, where the use of his hard head in tackling earned him the moniker “Ham-bone”. When the Korean War began the next year, Duane enlisted in the Air Force and became an aircraft and power plant mechanic specializing in B-36 bombers. Be-cause his family needed him on the farm, however, Duane was forced to give up his dream of becoming an Air Force chaplain, transferred to the re-serves, and returned to Missouri. Within a month of re-turning, in June of 1951 he married his fiancee Kathryn Haden and began a life with her on the farm.
They soon felt the call to Chris-tian ministry, so in 1952 Duane and Kathy followed his family back to Washington State where jobs were more plentiful. By the end of the 1950′s, Duane had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Literature, been made the pastor at the Delridge Chapel Free Methodist Church in West Seattle and become a father with the birth of his daughter Brenda in 1955 and of his son Daniel in 1959.
During this time Duane also worked full time for the Boeing Aircraft Company and began working on his graduate degree. In 1963, however, Duane left the ministry and eventually was divorced — though he retained contact and friendship with his wife Kathy. Though he had left the ministry, Duane’s drive to help others endured and he found time to serve the community by teaching at the both the high school and community college level.
In 1972 Duane went to help his parents in Eastern Washington. However, he could never really leave the Ozarks behind and during his spare time he worked his 10 acre farm where he milked cows, raised livestock and sold roses and fruit trees. Despite this hobby and a full time job, he found time to vol-unteer with charitable organiza-tions.
After Duane was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease he moved to live near his daughter Brenda in Kalama Washington for the last year of his life.
Duane is survived by his sisters, Shirley King and Nolita Smith; daughter, Brenda (Larson), and son, Daniel; grandchildren, Stephanie, Sean, Benjamin and Grace; and great-grandchil-dren, Paris and Britlese.
In the spring, family members will return his ashes to the Ozarks, for burial at Goodhope Cemetery.
To paraphrase one of his favor-ite poets Robert Frost: When two roads diverged in a wood, Duane “took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”