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Hamilton inducted into
Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame

By: Kevin Hamilton
The Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame inducted four new members Friday night during Texas Press Association midwinter convention in San Marcos, including Iowa Park Leader co-owner and co-publisher Bob Hamilton.

In addition to Hamilton, new Hall of Fame members include a former governor, a popular sportswriter, and like Hamilton, a former Texas Press Association president.

Attending the midwinter convention was Hamilton’s wife, Dolores, who currently serves as publisher of the Leader; daughters Kellie, Kim, Kay, and Kari (currently sales director and columnist for the Leader); and son Kevin, editor and photographer for the Leader; grandchildren Brady Hamilton, Karilea Collins and Tom Collins, and Kari’s fiance, Bobby Collins.

Speaking to a large audience gathered for Friday’s ceremony at the San Marcos Convention Center, Dolores said, “I would like to thank you for honoring Bob in this manner. The family is very proud of him and his dedication to his work.

“Bob loved his profession, and he loved the Texas Press Association. The friendships we have developed over the years are priceless. For many years, the TPA summer convention served as our family vacation. Tonight, for the first time in over 30 years, all five children are here.”

Inductees included:

William P. Hobby
Hobby was a publisher of the Houston Post and governor of Texas from 1917 to 1921. Hobby was owner of the Beaumont Enterprise when he became the youngest governor in state history. Three years after leaving office, he took over as president of the Houston Post. He died in 1964. The william P. Hobby Airport in Houston is named in his honor.

W.E. Berger
Berger has owned and published the Hondo Anvil Herald since 1946. Berger, along with his co-publisher son, Jeff, also own the Sabinal Times and have owned and sold four other Texas papers in the past 20 years, including the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise. He has served as president of both the Texas Press Association and south Texas Press Association.

Blackie Sherrod
Sherrod was a writer and editor at newspapers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for more than 50 years, including 25 years as sports editor of the Dallas Times Herald and 18 years as a columnist for the Dallas Morning News before retiring in 2002. He led the Times-Herald’s coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Bob Hamilton
Hamilton was born Feb. 12, 1931, in Grandfield, Oklahoma. His first experience in the newspaper industry came during World War II, selling the Hereford Brand in businesses when they came off the press.

Hamilton’s first actual newspaper salary came in 1948 when he was hired to do various jobs, including printer’s devil in the afternoon and pre-school janitorial service at the Brand office.

His first writing experience began the same year covering Hereford High School sports, and soon after was hired to string for the Amarillo News and Globe Times.

Hamilton joined the United States Air Force in 1950, and one year later was stationed Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. While in Alaska, he became involved inthe sport of skiing and began writing a ski column for the base paper, Fort Sourdough Sentinel.

Following his discharge from the service, Hamilton enrolled at Amarillo Junior College under the GI Bill, where he ran track and majored in journalism while working part time for the Amarillo Globe News, covering college sports.

His involvement in barbershop quartet singing led to his first full-time newspaper job. The co-publishers of the Moore County News, Gene Alford and Howard Jacob, were members of a newly-formed chapter in Dumas, and visited a quartet in Amarillo of which Hamilton was a member. The three became acquainted, and Hamilton was offered a job upon his graduation in 1956.

His tenure in the business almost ended less than 60 days later, and 30 days after his marriage to Dolores, when he covered a tank farm explosion at the Shamrock McKee Refinery between Sunray and Dumas.

Eighteen volunteer firemen were killed, all in the area Hamilton had been taking pictures until he ran out of film, and was returning to his car to reload when the first tanks exploded.

Despite being badly burned on his back and head, Hamilton telephoned details of the explosion to the Associated Press form the hospital business office, while waiting for an assignment to a bed. He was later nominated for the Pulitzer Price in photography for his coverage of the explosion.

Upon release from the hospital a week later, he took pictures and did brief follow-up stories on all the survivors of the explosion for a report in the Moore County News. The effort led to him being named the first non-daily recipient of the Anson Jones Award for medical coverage.

Hamilton worked for the Hereford Brand, Olton Enterprise, and the Portales (N.M.) Tribune, before starting a nin-county weekly publication in Plainview, the Plains Farmer, concentrating on irrigation farming.

He worked for the Lamb County Leader and Kress News before moving to Iowa Park from Littlefield in the fall of 1969 to begin the Iowa Park Leader.

After moving to Iowa Park, Hamilton played an active role in community and school events through the newspaper and civic leadership. His initiation to sports in Iowa Park covering the state football championship Hawks in 1969.

Hamilton covered the Hawks from the sidelines for every game until 1997 when illness forced him to turn over that portion of his job. He still attended Hawk games until the graduation of his grandson, Tom Collins, in 2006.

He also attended 38 consecutive state track meets in Austin, and covered every varsity sport and school event, as well as community events, many of which he was involved in.

Hamilton was a long-time member of the Iowa Park Chamber of Commerce and Iowa Park Lion’s Club, both of which he served in the capacity of president. He was also a member of Iowa Park MuleSkinners and First Presbyterian Church, and served as chairman of the Iowa Park bi-centennial committee in 1976.

Hamilton also served on the Iowa Park City Council from 1991 to 1999.

He was a member and past president of the Texas Press Association, West Texas Press Association, and North and East Texas Press Association.

He received the Special Recognition Award two times from the texas Vocation Agriculture teachers Association. He was also recipient of the Harold Hudson Award from the West Texas Press Association, and botht he Sam C. Holloway Memorial Award and Tom Mooney Award from the North and East Texas Press Association.

In 1990, Hamilton was named Oustanding Citizen of the Year in Iowa Park.
He passed award on June 7, 2008.

(Editor’s Note: Parts of this article are courtesy of the Associated Press and Houston Chronicle).

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