George Hampton was remembered at a Memorial Service in Battell Chapel on June 5, 2009 during our 45th reunion. Below are:
Memorial Service reading
written by Pat Caviness '64, read by John More, '64
George Minor Hampton, Jr., 67, Yale Class of 1964, passed away on January 21, 2009. George had long battled lung cancer without complaint, persevering and defying medical predictions for a number of years.
Bom in Parkersburg, West Virginia, in 1941, George spent his childhood and youth in Little Rock, Arkansas. His father, George M. Hampton and his mother, Elizabeth Brooks Hampton, were active in Little Rock affairs for many years.
After attending elementary and junior high school in Little Rock, George arrived at Taft School in Watertown CT in mid-September, 1956. He told friends, "I had a clear recollection of riding in the bus from the Waterbury train station up to the school sitting across the rear wheel seats — just a boy from Little Rock who had never ridden in the back of a bus nor seen so many tweedy boys. 50 years later, I am fortunate to say I regard my fellow students as lifelong friends".
By the time George was a senior he had gained the respect and admiration of his classmates and was selected the school's head monitor. The head monitor position in a prep school is the equivalent of the president of the student body in a public high school. In an all-boys school the position carried with it considerable prestige, influence and responsibility. Many times as head monitor, George would address the students and faculty at its nightly assemblies. Throughout the year, as student leader, he conducted regular meetings with the other selected senior monitors dealing with student activities and conduct.
George was not a natural athlete of imposing stature but made up for it with determination, grit, and a hardnosed attitude. Though undersized, he played guard. He liked to mix it up in the line. He would frequently come back to the Taft huddle with his oversized helmet strangely askew on his head and his face bruised. You knew he had been hammered by some much larger opposing lineman, but you also knew the fight was still there, his spirit unbroken. "Let's go", he'd say and he meant it.
George's father, a well respected businessman in Little Rock, had graduated from Yale. It was no surprise and with pride that he was admitted to Yale. After his sophomore year, he took a year off and returned to Yale to graduate in 1966 with a degree in political science.
Upon graduation and after opting out of an Officer's Training Program because it involved a four-year commitment, George was drafted immediately. He joined the U.S. Army as a private and was stationed in Korea. Through a series of promotions he made sergeant. George once told me a story about his duties as a sergeant during a bitterly cold winter in Korea. He would take his men out in the snowy mountains on weekly maneuvers. Frostbite was a big crippler because the men wouldn't take care of their feet. He taught them to change their socks frequently and would call regular halts during their patrols to give his men time to change. "No one in my unit ever had to leave the field due to frostbite", he told me proudly.
Leaving the service in 1967, George joined SeaLand Services, where he worked for the next 25 years. SeaLand Services is a large integrated state-of-the-art containerization shipping company. George traveled the world in his corporate career, living and working in the Netherlands, Spain, Dubai, and Hong Kong. Moving from one port to the next, George moved successfully through SeaLand's executive ranks. On retiring, the corporation honored George by inducting him into its inaugural "SeaLand Masters Class". His last assignment was in New Jersey, where he decided to retire and live in the small community of Milburn.
George and his wife, Sheila Kelly Hampton settled in Milburn. They lived there for the rest of his life. They had two daughters. Katharine died at age 3½. The other daughter, Elizabeth Hampton, gave birth to a son named Devon Hampton, now age 9, whom George and Shiela raised.
After retiring, George managed his own financial affairs. By all accounts, he took great pleasure in managing his portfolio until his death.
George was devoted to Taft and retained a lifelong commitment to the institution and his fellow classmates. The school defined his primary community of friends. He remained fiercely loyal to the school throughout his life. From the time of his graduation and extending over the next 35 years, George was the 1960 Taft Class Agent. He wrote a regular column in the Taft alumni magazine about the comings and goings of his classmates and maintained a close correspondence and connection to everyone in his senior class. If you wanted to know about a classmate, a quick call to George and you would be brought up to date in short order.
Every spring George mobilized for the annual Taft class giving campaign. He made sure every member of the class made a donation. Remarkably, George's Class of 1960 maintained almost 100% participation throughout his time as its Class Agent. For this extraordinary record, George was the recipient of the Taft Chairman of the Board of Trustees award for 8 consecutive years.
George's low-keyed, modest, and understated manner projected an initial impression of a reserved demeanor. That appearance concealed a wicked wit and wry, self-deprecating sense of humor that brought quick smiles to his friends and colleagues. Most people who met George warmed to him immediately. You just wanted to spend time visiting with him because you knew he would bring up some zany observation or offbeat story that left you chuckling the rest of the day.
George possessed a humble, diligent and resolute soul. He developed an emotional stability and conscientiousness people were drawn to and trusted. As a young man, he discovered self-knowledge at a much earlier age than his classmates. He had a deeper feel for human relationships and a greater sensitivity toward his own emotional chords than those around him.
A good listener, a good team man, a strong communicator, George had another side to him that was shy and inward-oriented. Attracted to detail, he had an admirable persistence to him. When working on a project or studying his investments he would exhibit analytic thoroughness and the ability to work long hours.
A Memorial Service was held for George in Elizabeth Rodman Voorhees Chapel, Douglass College, New Brunswick, on Saturday, January 31, 2009. A number of George's friends and classmates spoke about their love and devotion for this honorable caring man.
"Sincere, wise, caring, and a great listener, George was a friend to everyone in our class and respected by all who knew him."
"George has been an inspiration in his service to us all. Simply put, he was everyone's Head Monitor up to the day he died. We will never have another quite like him. George was ministerial in his genuine concern for us all. His way of being never bowled you over, it was simply exemplary".
George M. Hampton, Jr.
George M. Hampton Jr., 67, of Millburn NJ, passed away on Jan. 21, 2009.
A memorial service will be held at the Elizabeth Rodman Voorhees Chapel,
Douglass College, New Brunswick, on Saturday, Jan. 31, at noon.
Born in Parkersburg, W. Va., George spent his childhood and youth in Little Rock, Ark. He graduated from the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., where he was head monitor and then continued on to Yale College.
After college, he served his country in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Korea and discharged with the rank of sergeant. George started his 25-year career with SeaLand Services in Seattle, Wash. He traveled the world in his corporate career, living and working in New Jersey, the Netherlands, Spain, Dubai and Hong Kong. George was honored by being inducted into the inaugural "SeaLand Masters Class."
Upon his retirement, he became actively engaged with the Taft School, serving as class agent. He was the recipient of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees award for eight consecutive years.
George was predeceased by his parents, George M. and Elizabeth Brooks Hampton of Little Rock, and by his daughter, Katherine Kelly Hampton. He is survived by his wife, Sheila Kelly Hampton; grandson, Devon Hampton; also surviving are Thomas and Mary Kelly McLaughlin, Maggie, Maeve and Jack McLaughlin.
George donated his remains to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Memorial contributions may be made to the Taft School, Watertown, Conn. 06795, or to the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College, 181 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ.