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Hamilton honored for service

By Staff, 02/26/18 10:26 AM


PRESCOTT – A life was honored Sunday evening at the Youth Center.

The life, according to all who spoke, was one of service and giving. The honoree was Mae Helen Gracen Hamilton, a former teacher in the Prescott school system.

The event was spearheaded by Rev. Ivory Curry, who told the nearly 40 there, plans are to honor others in the community who have given back and served.

Michelle Rhodes, Hamilton’s daughter, said she was thankful for her mother, adding Hamilton’s family had a special place in her heart. She thanked everyone for thinking about her mother, saying she was a “quiet servant” who didn’t go looking for the spotlight and expected nothing from the work she did. “She was a private person.”

Rhodes said her sister, Nicole, was their mother’s shadow, following her wherever she went. The memories shared included one of Hamilton’s granddaughter, Gracen. According to Rhodes, Hamilton dreamed of having a granddaughter who wore nothing but dresses. Thus it was for Gracen, who didn’t know girls wore anything but dresses until she went to school.

Hamilton, Rhodes continued, would stay up until all of the children returned home. She talked about the rock and hops held at school and how her mother would sit in her favorite chair, curling her hair and reading the Bible until the children came back. Their brother, Keith, she added, was the comedian of the family.

Hamilton’s spirit of giving took root in her children as they now give back as well. Rhodes said she’d talked with Ron Majors about the need for a home for the needy in town. A place where people who were displaced could stay until they got back on their feet. Rhodes listened and one day, while driving around, saw a house for sale. She called the owner, who agreed to sell for the value of the land. Work is being done to turn the house into a shelter for those in need. “Community matters, we need to stick together.”

Nicole was next up, saying this was an honor and she was excited to be there. She talked about how the audience was filled with people her mother taught to read and drive. “It’s an honor being her child.” She said her mother’s life was short, 63, years, but had a lot packed into it.

Hamilton’s nephew, Larry Smallwood, thanked everyone for keeping Hamilton’s spirit alive, saying he’d been a troubled child and she helped him earn his PhD.

Howard Austin, former principal at Prescott Elementary School, talked about how being Hamilton’s neighbor wasn’t always easy as she never bothered to use a doorbell or knock, but would, instead barge in when she had something on her mind. “She was a true friend. She was concerned about others and loved her students. She was concerned about children and could always be depended on.”

Austin said Hamilton asked him to teacher Keith how to hunt. He told of taking him deer hunting, setting him up to wait for a deer, pointing out where the deer should emerge for the best shot. He added, when Keith killed the deer, he literally dragged it a mile back to the camp.

Mary Ann Flenory called Hamilton an angel, saying she fed Flenory and her family when they were having a hard time. This, she said, occurred before there was a food share.

Verion Adams called Hamilton her best friend and said they used to talk all the time.

Freddie Hamilton said when Hamilton married into the family, she was part of it from the start and was sweet to Freddie Hamilton’s parents.

Rhodes was asked to talk about a project her mother would have approved of whole-heartedly – Imagination Library, a reading program for children 0-5 that provides a book a month to children enrolled. Studies, she said, show children who learn to read at an early age tend to be more successful. The goal, she continued, is to enroll 500 children in the county into the program. As it is, there are 150 enrolled.

Curry said there are awesome servants in this community and we need to remember not to forget them, as well as encouraging others to become servants. To serve, he added, a person has to be self-motivated.

He said more community servants will be honored throughout the year.