Wayne Joseph Hamilton was born Dec. 27, 1923, on the family farm near Merrill, to William Guy and Daisy Maude (Alderson) Hamilton. Wayne attended country school and later graduated from Merrill High School in 1941.
Following high school, Wayne went to work for Clark Construction of Merrill doing road construction.
Wayne served his country in the United States Army during World War II with the Combat Engineers, 32nd Battalion, Red Arrow Division from Feb.18, 1943 until his honorable discharge Nov. 27, 1945. While in the service, Wayne worked on projects in Papua, New Guiena and Leyete and Luzon in the Philippines.
Wayne was united in marriage to Esther Elizabeth Donlin on Jan. 2, 1946, at the Whitfield Methodist Church in Sioux City. Wayne established Hamilton Construction in 1946 doing primarily conservation construction. Wayne sold the business to his son-in-law, Dan Smith in 1989 and continued to work until retiring in 1998.
Wayne was a devoted husband and lifelong friend to his wife, Esther. His family was his greatest joy and his home was a gathering place for his girls and their friends.
He loved trees and he had planted many in his lifetime. His work in soil conservation was his passion. He had constructed miles of terraces and many dams and waterways. He enjoyed feeding birds and squirrels everyday. He always said that he spent half of his Social Security check on bird feed.
Wayne was a lifetime member of the Merrill United Methodist Church and had served as an officer and on many committees. He also was a member of the Land Improvement Contractors of America and the Oleson-Halweg American Legion Post #125 of Merrill.
Wayne was a charter member of the Merrill Lions Club and was honored with the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.
Wayne and Esther enjoyed traveling throughout the world and spending winters down south at Simi Valley, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz.
Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Esther of Merrill; two children: a daughter, Marlene McKibben and her husband Larry, of Marshalltown, and their family, Mark McKibben and his wife Laura and children Brant and Luke, and Katie McKibben; a daughter, Valerie Smith and her husband Dan, of Merrill, and their family Peter Smith and his wife Marta and Phillip Smith and his wife Heidi; a brother-in-law, Don Donlin and his wife Glenda of Merrill; and several nieces and nephews.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, William Guy and Daisy Maude (Alderson) Hamilton; two brothers, James and Wesley Hamilton; and five sisters, Veo Dougherty, Ruth Holtzen, Jennie Ferguson, Arlene Rath and Ayleen Clark.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday at the United Methodist Church in Merrill. Visitation with the family present will be after 3 p.m. Sunday at the Carlsen Funeral Home in Le Mars with a 5 p.m. prayer service Sunday afternoon at the funeral home. Military honors will be provided by the Oleson-Halweg American Legion Post #125 of Merrill. Visitation will continue Monday morning at the church from 9:30 a.m. until service time.
Pallbearers will be Mark McKibben, Peter Smith, Philip Smith, Jim Jauer, Clark Johnson, Mitchell Johnson, Dee Jay Donlin, and Kelly Rath.
Honorary casket bearers will be Katie McKibben, Gerald Johnson, Bob Bliss, Wayne Ferguson, Larry Clark, Bill Hamilton, Jim Livingston, and Lorne Proeber.
Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.