Nancy M. Hamilton
Nancy Margaret Hamilton, 81 passed away in peace January 4, 2020 in Gainesville, Florida. Educator, Photo-Journalist, writer, Veteran, traveler, dreamer and fighter.
Nancy was born in upstate New York in the late 1930s as the eldest child of Kenneth and Sophie Hamilton. She had one sibling, her sister Sonya.
When Nancy entered her teenage years, her family relocated to central Florida, specifically to Eustis and later Mount Dora.
Nancy graduated from high school in Eustis, followed by Stetson University in Central Florida and then the University of Florida in Gainesville with a master’s degree in photo-journalism. After graduating, Nancy served in the U.S. Army in the early 1960s.
After the army, Nancy moved to New York City to begin her career as a photo journalist. For over five decades Nancy pursued a career as a photo journalist, writer, editor and educator (focusing on writing, photography and journalism) across the U.S. For example, Nancy was a writer/photo-journalist for the National Audubon Society based in New York City, and taught at Humbolt State University in Northern California, the University of Arizona in Tucson, and New Mexico State University.
Nancy was always thinking about her family and relatives, often driving across the country for holidays and to stay in touch with relatives. She always thought of her great-nieces at Christmas and birthdays irrespective of not having much to give. This continued well into her later years when Nancy was in poor health. Nancy was also very interested in genealogy and researching her family history.
Nancy loved the outdoors, hiking and camping, and especially travel. Nancy travelled in Ireland and the rest of Europe in her younger years, but travelled most extensively in the U.S. throughout her life.
Nancy criss-crossed the United States numerous times, often living/working out of her van. Nancy was a risk-taker and dreamer who did not let adverse economic circumstances deter her. Nancy was a cat lover and took her cats with her everywhere even when this was very difficult for her. More importantly, Nancy met and befriended many people in her work and travels. Nancy had a knack of being able to identify good and trustworthy people to help her.
Nancy’s later years were characterized by her struggles with financial difficulties and a number of serious and chronic medical conditions that eventually led to her passing. However, Nancy never gave in to her illnesses and continued to struggle to work until her very last days. For example, after many years of study Nancy received her post-doctorate degree shortly before her death.
Nancy was blessed by finding “guardian angels” in her life and travels. One such guardian was fellow army veteran who was there for Nancy in Gainesville at the end of Nancy’s life. He gave to Nancy with a truly extraordinary degree of compassion and assistance, describing Nancy in her last days as a “fighter”. “She couldn’t stand not being productive. Her desire was get back to Arizona and back to teaching. Her body wouldn’t let her.”
Nancy never married and has no children. Nancy is survived by her sister Sonya and her nephews Thomas, Matthew and Patrick, as well as her great-nieces Grace and Lindsay and her great-nephew Ryan. Nancy’s best qualities and spirit live on in these younger generations. Her nephew Thomas was a journalist. Her great-niece Grace is a writer, photographer and an avid climber, hiker, camper and outdoors enthusiast.
Nancy was a Presbyterian. Thank You God for watching over Nancy throughout all of her life and adventures. Thank You God for finding Nancy guardian angels to help watch over her, especially at the end of her life and in her passing, who may now help watch over her in their prayers and spirit now that she has passed on.
Rest in Peace Aunt Nancy.