On Wednesday, New Mexicans learned of the passing of Republican former state Rep. Dianne Hamilton, 87, who represented District 38 in Grant, Sierra, and Hidalgo counties from 1998 to 2016.
According to the Grant County Beat:
Hamilton was born in Kansas City, Mo., on January 31, 1934, to Dr. Lawrence and Thelma Miller. She attended Catholic parochial schools until high school, graduating from Southwest High in 1951. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1955 with a degree in education. She taught in Kansas City public schools and pursued a broadcasting career until she married her husband of 60 years, Marine Corps officer John A. Hamilton, in December of 1956.
For the next 20 years Hamilton followed her husband’s career through the military and its many moves while raising their four children: son Drew and daughters Jared, Lynn, and Merritt. After John retired from the Marines in 1974, the family moved to Silver City where John worked for the local copper mine.
Hamilton hosted two daily radio programs in Silver City from 1976-1999. During the last 45 years, she held leadership roles in many community organizations including the Mimbres Arts Council, the Gila Regional Medical Center Foundation, the board of Hidalgo Medical Services, and the Silver City Library Board. In 1980 she became an associate member of her local LULAC council. That same year she helped to found Silver City’s first shelter for victims of domestic violence, El Refugio, which continues to help abuse victims four decades later.
Hamilton was appointed to the Western New Mexico University Board of Regents in 1990 by Governor Bruce King. She served until 1998, serving President of the Board for the last four years of her term. She received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexican Women in 1994 and was named the Silver City/Grant County Citizen of the Year in 1995.
Many legislators and public officials grieved Hamilton’s loss. Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-NM-02) wrote on Facebook, that she was “[s]addened that my dear friend, colleague, and great New Mexican Dianne Hamilton has passed away. She served her fellow citizens faithfully in the NM House of Representatives, and she raised up an amazing and strong family. Please join me in praying for them and celebrating Dianne’s wonderful life!”
State Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences) said, “I loved each of our visits and hearing her stories from the Roundhouse. She was a friend and I will miss her dearly.”
“Our community has surely lost a wonderful woman and leader with the passing of Dianne Hamilton,” said State Representative Luis Terrazas (R-Silver City). “I remember hearing Rep. Hamilton on the radio growing up and will forever cherish her mentorship and encouragement to become involved in our community.”
“Representative Hamilton was an excellent advocate for her community, and also helped pave the way for the many women serving in our Legislature,” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia). “Our caucus is proud to have served with Dianne Hamilton, and we will miss her presence and friendship.”
The New Mexico House Republicans wrote, “Our condolences are with the family and friends of former State Rep. Dianne Hamilton. Rep. Hamilton served in the legislature from 1998 – 2016. We will miss Rep. Hamilton’s presence and friendship.”
According to the New Mexico House Republicans, “Arrangements are pending with the New Mexico State Capitol where she will lie state and with St. Francis Newman Center Parish in Silver City. She will be interred with her husband at Arlington National Cemetery.”