Rodney Ervin Hamilton, 72

Chebeague Island – Rodney E. Hamilton, 72 passed away on July 12, 2011 at his home, surrounded by his loving wife and family after a long battle with cancer.

Rodney was born in Portland on December 19, 1938 to Ervin O. and Ellen C. (Bennett) Hamilton. He grew up on Chebeague, attending island schools through his junior year of high school. His class was the first from Chebeague to graduate on the mainland. He graduated from Portland High School in 1957.

Rodney is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Barbara, his son Douglas and his wife Michele of Windham, and his daughter Debra and her husband Raymond Mileson of South Portland; eight grandchildren and step-grandchildren – Aaron, Sam and Ted Hamilton; Marc, Lauren and Alexis Reynolds; and Sarah and Brad Mileson. Additionally, Rod is survived by two brothers and three sisters:  Kenneth and his wife Jeanette of Chebeague, Theron of North Yarmouth, Audrey and her husband Richard Collins of Chebeague, Sylvia and her husband James Ross of Chebeague, and Joyce and her husband Robert Burns of Yarmouth; and many nieces and nephews.

Rodney worked for five years as a carpenter for contractor Louis Ross on Chebeague.  He then worked at Central Maine Power from 1964 until his retirement in 2000, as a Meter Technician.  At CMP he was affectionately known as “Hammy”, “Old Cap” and “The Gentle Giant”.  Rodney received great enjoyment from his CMP and brother utility visitors. Rodney’s group involvement at CMP included seven years on the Board of Directors for the Central Maine Power Credit Union, thirty six proud years as a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and member of the CMP Bowling League.

Rodney’s community involvement in Cumberland included membership and treasurer of the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Lions Club, Trustee of the Cumberland Congregational Church, and assistant coaching for the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Little League. On Chebeague, Rodney served as Treasurer of the Chebeague Island Gun Club, volunteer fireman of the Chebeague Island Fire Department, and served on the Board of Trustees for the Chebeague Island Library.

Rodney’s most prized possession was family.  He had the greatest pride in his grandchildren (Aaron, Sam, Ted, Marc, Lauren, Alexis, Sarah and Brad) and had a great love for his son-in-law Ray and his daughter-in-law Michele.  Rodney enjoyed attending sporting and scholastic events of his children and grandchildren.  He loved to visit and stay with family for holidays or for any excuse that came to mind.  Family pets sensed Rodney’s gentle spirit and were drawn to him.

Rodney spent many happy hours with family camping on Chebeague and Nova Scotia, and hitting, throwing, watching or talking baseball.  Obviously, the Boston Red Sox were his favorite team (thank goodness for the World Series victories of 2004 and 2007).  Rodney was an avid reader, particularly Westerns, and loved Country and Bluegrass music (favorites included Johnny Cash and George Jones).

Second to family, he had a great love for the island of Chebeague, her community and the island life.  During regularly scheduled hospital stays in his last year, if asked what he needed or wanted, the answer was “the first boat back to Chebeague”.  A highlight of every year was the Fourth of July celebration, race, parade and family cookout.  Rodney particularly appreciated, throughout his life, visitation from family and friends and their gifts of baked goods, fresh clams, crabmeat or fish. Rodney had a wonderful sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye.  He was friendly to all and could be depended upon to provide a new joke or one that had been told a hundred times.  Rodney had a quiet pride in his craftsmanship as exhibited by the cottage he built, detailed cabinetry, electrical and finish work in his home, chair caning and many smaller projects.

The family expresses a special thank you to the Home Health Visiting Nurses of Maine staff for their loving, respectful and compassionate care which they provided for many months.  Also, a special thank you to Ginny Ballard and the Hospice of Southern Maine staff who orchestrated Rod’s special care in his final weeks at home.  Rodney’s entire family will continue to thank our island community for their outpouring of love and care.  Thank you Chebeaguers!

A celebration of Rodney’s life will be held at 12:30pm on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at the Chebeague Methodist Church.  Internment will occur immediately afterward in the Chebeague Island Cemetery followed by a gathering at the church parish hall.

Please note that the Chebeague Transportation Parking Lot is located on Route 1 across from Thomas Drive in Cumberland (near the border with Yarmouth). The bus transportation to the ferry will leave the parking lot at exactly 10:55am. A bus on Chebeague will transport attendees from the 11:30am boat to the church.  No parking is available at the ferry.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Chebeague Island Fire Department or to the Island Council (check memo:  Cynnie’s Group)