William A. Hamilton, Jr.February 8, 1918 ~ January 4, 2018 (age 99)
William A. Hamilton, Jr., 99, Overland Park, Kansas, died on January 4, 2018 at Garden Terrace Overland Park. A visitation will be held from 10-11AM, with service at 11AM, on Friday, January 12, with military honors, at Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66210. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 3846 W. 75th St, Prairie Village, KS 66208 in memory of Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. Hamilton was born February 8, 1918 in Dallas, TX. He was a 1940 graduate of Texas A&M in Civil Engineering. He served during World War II as a Lieutenant in command of an anti-aircraft unit on Corregidor Island at the entrance to Manila Bay in the Philippines. When the war began, the Japanese pledged to take Corregidor in three weeks. Five months later and only after all food and ammunition were completely exhausted, were American forces finally ordered to surrender. Mr. Hamilton was a prisoner of war for the remaining 3 ½ years of the war in Japanese POW camps, including Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines and Camp Fukuoka on Kyushu Island in Japan. Three separate times he survived the sinking of Japanese prisoner of war “hell ships” including the infamous Oryoku Maru, the Enoura Maru, and the Brazil Maru, all bombed by the American Air Force during prisoner transport by the Japanese. He was finally liberated from Camp Hoten in Mukden, Manchuria in August 1945. For his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Distinguished Unit Badge with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Prisoner of War Medal, among others. He later retired from the US Army Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel.
After the war, Mr. Hamilton married Margaret Frances Jacobs on February 3, 1946 in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Hamilton worked for 38 years as a Bridge Engineer for the Santa Fe Railroad, both in Galveston, Texas and after in 1965, in Topeka, Kansas. He and his wife moved to Overland Park in 1990. Mr. Hamilton was a member of the Reserve Officers Association, the Kansas Society of Civil Engineers, Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, and American Ex-Prisoners of War.
Margaret Hamilton died April 18, 1984 after 38 years of marriage to Mr. Hamilton. He is survived by a son, William A. Hamilton, III of Olathe, Kansas, former daughter-in-law, Sandy Hamilton of Escondido, California, his sister-in-law Edna Mae Hamilton of Richardson, Texas, along with many nieces and nephews and their descendants.