Bob Hamilton, longtime head of the Champaign County Democratic Party, died Thursday at age 79 in Vancrest of Urbana. He leaves behind a wife, Betty, daughters Patti Hamilton and Robin Traxler, and sons Roger and Michael.
Hamilton was a member of the Champaign County Board of Elections for 15 years, including four of which he served as chairman. He received the Small County Democratic Chairman of the Year Award for his work on the board.
He also was involved with the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve, helping to establish the Cedar Bog Preservation Fund. He had served on the Tri-County Community Action’s board of directors, was in the Urbana Lions Club and had been a member of the Urbana Optimist Club.
“It’s a loss for our community,” said fellow Democrat Karen Ward, who with her husband, Bart, worked with Hamilton in the local Democratic Party. “Bob was a community-minded person. He worked for the good of everyone.”
Dale Staudter, vice chairman of the Democratic Central Committee, noted Hamilton was active in the Urbana Lions Club and was instrumental in acquiring funding for improvements at Cedar Bog.
“He was a wonderful leader to our Democratic Party, always aware of the right things that should be done,” Staudter said. “We Democrats really appreciated who he was. He was very humble and just a wonderful individual.”
Stephanie Truelove, secretary of the Democratic Central Party, said she respected the high expectations Hamilton set for himself. “He was able to handle business in a very thorough manner. He taught me a lot, helped me do a lot of growing. I’ll miss him.”
Treasurer of the county Democratic Party and president of the Urbana City Council, Marty Hess called Hamilton “a great guy and a great Democrat who grew the local Democratic Party.
“Bob worked well for the Democratic Party and worked well with the Republican Party,” Hess said. “He was for all the people in Champaign County. He will be missed.”
The Walter & Stowe Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements. Hamilton’s obituary is on Page 2 of this edition.