Flo Hamilton called many places home over the course of her long life, but the Santa Ynez Valley was surely her favorite, and it was here that she died on February 27, 2015, surrounded by family and friends. The daughter of Anna Brigetta Erwin and Otis Laport Thisler, Flo was born in the small town of Chapman, Kansas on March 11, 1921. Little could have foretold that she would leave the golden wheat fields of Kansas and settle in sun-belt towns on both sides of the continent, following the love of her life, Sid Hamilton. Sid’s work as an Aerospace engineer kept them on the move during an exciting time in that industry. Flo was known for her ‘pioneer woman’ spirit, working tirelessly on projects she believed in, overcoming adversity with grace, and welcoming new ideas and innovation.
Flo received her nursing degree in Kansas City, Missouri in 1942, and went on to live in Neodesha, Kansas, where she honed the skills which became her life’s work. Helping others came naturally to Flo, and it is her role as nurse and caregiver that many Santa Ynez Valley residents will remember her. For thirty years she worked alongside the well known and hip young doctor, Lou Netzer, on his numerous health care initiatives in the Valley, including the Mellow Mobile Medical Clinic, the Mellow Country Clinic, and the Solvang Friendship House. In 2004, in recognition of Flo and Sid’s many contributions, one of the buildings at the Friendship House was named ‘The Hamilton House’.
The door to Sid and Flo’s house was always open and the table always full of delicious food. Flo was known for her cooking skills and her generosity, and contributed frequently to church fundraisers and other community events. She loved trying new recipes and was the first mother on the block to embrace stir-fry and spinach quiche! Sid and Flo also had a passion for camping, backpacking, and traveling, and many family memories were created around a campground, mountain lake, or winding trail.
Flo was preceded in death by her loving husband, Sid Hamilton and her brother, Jack Thisler. Flo leaves behind her six children, Jim (Rosalyn), Ann, Sue (Jeff), Sid (Beckee), Beth (Dodd), and Tom (Kim), as well as seventeen grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren and one nephew.
Flo’s family extends heartfelt thanks to the wonderful staff at the Solvang Friendship House and Kathleen Day, who cared so lovingly for Flo at the end of her journey. We also acknowledge the expert guidance of Hospice during this difficult time. The final page of Flo’s life closed fittingly at the very place she and Lou Netzer had started for senior care 37 years ago.
Services will be held Friday, March 27, 2015 at 11:00 am at the Santa Ines Mission in Solvang. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Flo’s memory may be made to the Solvang Friendship House, 880 Friendship Lane, Solvang, California 93463.