John Robert (Bob) Hamilton
John Robert (Bob) Hamilton, 77, died peacefully at Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing, in Berlin, Vermont on March 15, 2019 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. Bob was born on November 28, 1941 in Crawfordsville, Indiana. After high school he attended Wabash College from 1960 to 1964, also in Crawfordsville, where he achieved an outstanding record, including receiving the Paul T. Hurt Award for Outstanding Freshman and winning the highly coveted Baldwin Award for the most outstanding oration. He was the Managing Editor of The Bachelor and a leader on the campus, achieving many awards too numerous to mention. Bob was passionate about equal rights for all and in 1962 was the driving force behind bringing Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity to the campus, the first fraternity at Wabash to admit African-American students.
After graduating from Wabash, Bob received a full scholarship to attend Duke University School of Law, earning his J.D. there in 1967. Once again he proved himself, serving on the Duke Law Journal Board, co-winning the Dean’s Cup Moot Court Competition, and serving on the Duke Moot Court Board.
During the summers of law school Bob was a law clerk at the prestigious international law firm of Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio, a summer intern at the Wall Street Journal, and a Ford Foundation grant research assistant.
In the late 1960’s Bob moved to Los Angeles to join the law firm of Jones Day as an associate. He later left Jones Day to work as an attorney for Universal Studios. While working for Universal, he started to submit scripts for a variety of television shows. It was a dream of Bob’s to be a script writer and he became so successful at it that he left Universal to write television scripts full-time and was represented by the Adams, Ray Rosenberg Literary Agency. He wrote scripts for such well- known and loved shows as: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Jake & The Fatman; Father Dowling Mysteries; Matlock; Magnum P.I. and, Spencer for Hire, and a number of made-for television movies.
By 1980, Bob was such a prolific writer that he had to hire a full-time secretary and bookkeeper. He also moved to Santa Barbara, California, was on the phone much of the time with agents and producers, and made trips to Hollywood as necessary for production meetings, zooming along the Pacific Coast in his Porsche. In 1983, Bob won a Peabody Award for a television movie script he wrote about the true story of a therapist who used a therapy dog to work with mentally disabled children.
Bob loved and lived in the beachside town of Santa Barbara, California for almost 30 years. Most of that time he lived on the oceanfront, sitting at a long farm table writing screenplays. He was a disciplined writer and never wrote less than 10 longhand pages on yellow pads each day without fail. He had several Golden Retrievers and then a series of rescue dogs who shared his beach life. He was a loving and devoted companion to all of them.
Each weekend, exhausted and work-weary guests would arrive from Los Angeles to Bob’s home to be nurtured back to their feet. Bob was known for his spectacular parties and was a consummate host. A lifelong non-drinker and non-smoker, Bob put his guests at ease with conversation an fun. Although he loved “interviewing” guests from the television business to find the latest information or fun bits of gossip, his guests always felt they were present not for Bob’s pleasure but for their own. He was famous for his summer white party where all guests were asked to attend a fabulous beach party dressed in white. Bob also started a solstice day parade group where the participants dressed in wacky cardboard costumes and danced along the entire parade route. How he got everyone to do it is a marvel, and so is the memory of it that still brings smiles to those who participated and those who simply laughed from the sidelines.
When Bob retired in 2001, he moved to Holland, Vermont from Santa Barbara.
While he lived in Holland he founded the Animal Rescue of the Kingdom (“ARK”) because he wanted a local no-kill rescue option. ARK rescued high risk dogs from high kill shelters in the south. Bob’s passions were dogs, dog rescue, national politics, classical music, and Broadway show musicals.
Bob moved from Holland to East Montpelier, Vermont in 2003, buying an historic farmhouse that sat on 60 acres. He wanted to be closer to Montpelier and needed plenty of land for his beloved dogs. The first year he moved to East Montpelier he had five dogs whom he loved to take for long walks on the land and up into the meadow, wearing fly tape on his cap in the springtime to catch the black flies to keep them from biting him and the dogs, and wearing Yak Traks in the winter to keep from falling on the ice. He also became an ardent gardener, planting hundreds of spring bulbs in his yard and fields that first year and then the next. Later, he added rose bushes and a hillside of colorful perennials along his road. He often would host a game of croquet with lemonade and sandwiches on his porch in the summer and elegant dinners in November to celebrate his birthday. He very much enjoyed entertaining his friends and neighbors.
While he lived in Vermont, Bob continued to write scripts, including the 2001 version of Ponderosa. In the same year, he wrote and published a humorous book about his dog Annie, whom he cherished, titled Annie: Diary of a Bad Girl.
For several years while he lived in East Montpelier, he wrote a regular light-hearted feature column for the Washington World called, Dear Annie, a play on the Dear Abby column, with a beautiful photo of Annie who gave advice to dog owners.
When he moved to East Montpelier, Bob joined the Unitarian Church of Montpelier. While not religious, he supported its liberal values, and before his Parkinson’s disease got the better of him, Bob enjoyed serving food at the Monday free luncheons at the Church.
Due to the effects of Parkinson’s disease, the last two years of his life Bob needed full-time care, but despite his disabilities, he was a favorite of the staff at Woodridge where he lived the last year of his life, and knew how to enjoy himself to the end.
Bob was incredibly kind to people at difficult times in their lives: he offered a willing ear, a place to stay, a job, a place of healing, and mostly friendship to those lucky enough to cross his path. The world feels a little less buoyant without one of its favorite dreamers.
Bob was preceded in death by his mother, Esther Warbritton Hamilton, in May of 1967, his father, John Kenneth Hamilton, in July of 1976, and his favorite aunt, Eleanor L. Warbritton Futch Beall in June 27, 1990. He is survived by his brother William Nelson Hamilton, living in Indianapolis, Indiana, and his sister Nancy Hamilton Winkler, living in Polebridge, Montana, and cousins, J. Thomas Futch, Jr. and Jenny Futch Hensley, both living in the Washington, D.C. area. He is also survived by many friends coast-to-coast and by his two loyal and devoted caregivers at the end of his life, Darcey Warner and Richard Atkinson. Darcey and Rich attended to Bob’s every need and provided him with companionship. Bob’s friends and family will forever be grateful for their great care of Bob. They are also grateful for the kind and attentive care Bob received from the staff, nurses, and medical providers at Woodridge.
A memorial service will be held on Bob’s land in East Montpelier sometime in the late spring or early summer when his flowers are blooming. If you desire advance notification of the date and time, please either call or e-mail Beth Danon at 802-482-2905 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will add you to the notification list.