Father Hamilton, former pastor of Holy Family Church, dies at 87

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Father Philip A. Hamilton, former pastor of Holy Family Church on Hilton Head Island, S.C., died Oct. 28 in Savannah, Ga. He was 87.

The Mass of Christian Burial was Oct. 31 at Holy Family Church. Interment was at Calvary Cemetery in Omaha, Neb.

Father Hamilton was born Oct. 5, 1918, in Clarion, Iowa, a son of Agnes Murphy and Stephen Hamilton. He received a bachelor’s degree from Creighton University in Omaha and attended seminary at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he received a degree in sacred theology. He earned master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Notre Dame. He was ordained in the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1944.

Father Hamilton was a retired colonel and chaplain with the U.S. Air Force and a longtime professor of sociology at Loras College. He was a volunteer missionary in Alaska and Antigua.

His community activities were in formation of programs for the elderly, civil rights, and housing. He was a participant in the White House Conference for Civil Rights, and during the 1970s he became the first director of the Civil Rights Commission in Iowa.

Following his retirement from Loras College in 1985, Father Hamilton volunteered to serve in the Diocese of Charleston as pastor of Holy Family Church. He recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination.

Surviving are two sisters, Gwanetha Hamilton Metz and Mary Hamilton Flynn, and nieces and nephews.

Condolences may be sent to Father Hamilton’s niece, Stephanie O’Keefe, at 9838 Harney Parkway North, Omaha, NE 68114.