William E. “Earl” Hamilton

March 14, 1933 - February 22, 2024

William E. Hamilton

William E. Hamilton, also known as “Earl”, was born in Owensboro on March 14, 1933, and died Thursday, February 22nd, 2024. Bill was the second oldest of 11 siblings, three of whom are still alive. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, one daughter in Denver, one daughter in Dallas, one grandson in Owensboro, and one granddaughter and one great-granddaughter in Spring Lake, NC. He is preceded in death by one daughter who was an Owensboro resident.

Bill graduated from St. Francis High School in 1951. He worked at Delmar’s Restaurant for several months, then enlisted in the Navy. He had hoped to be a pilot, but having suffered mumps as a child and losing hearing in one ear, he knew he’d be disqualified from flying, so he chose instead to become a flight radio operator.

As a Naval radio operator in the 1950s, Bill translated Morse Code to help pilots navigate the US early warning planes patrolling the East Coast to prohibit enemy planes from approaching the US mainland. Bill also helped navigate flights out of Patuxent River, Maryland, stopping in the Azores before flying on to Germany, occasionally picking up lobsters for commander’s special events.

After release from the Navy, Bill took a job rolling barrels in the rik houses at Fleishman’s Distillery. Several months later he took a job at the Murphy Miller Chair Factory where he made wooden seats for chairs. There he met his lifelong friend Don Wathen who eventually introduced Bill to his sister, Sharon Wathen. Bill married Sharon in 1961.

Bill worked as a letter carrier for the US Postal Service for nine years. In 1969, after an extended vacation out west, Bill packed up his family and relocated them to Arizona where he trained as an A/C technician, but after observing the weather in Phoenix, he decided he’d rather not work on hot roofs, so he returned to his position as a letter carrier, this time in Arizona.

Still, he yearned for a job where his abilities and talent would be recognized, so he began attending community college to study accounting. Suffering from wanderlust, he transferred to the University of Oregon, but out-of-state tuition proved to be too expensive, so he moved back to Arizona so he could attend Arizona State University as a resident, graduating magna cum laude from ASU. Bill earned the distinction of passing the Certified Public Exam (CPA exam) on his first try.

Bill worked in private practice as a CPA/tax practitioner off and on for several firms in Arizona. He returned to government employment as an auditor for the Defense Contract Audit Agency in Arizona, then relocated to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi as an accountant for NASA/National Space Technologies Laboratory. Finally, Bill moved his family to Lakewood, Colorado, taking a position as an accountant with the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Bill loved the Colorado outdoors and took his wife and family camping and fishing whenever he could. Bill and Sharon returned to their hometown Owensboro in the early 1990s, where Bill was finally able to immerse himself in watching his beloved UK Wildcats Men’s Basketball. Another of his passions was Chevy Corvettes. While in Kentucky Bill restored three vintage Corvettes, a 1957 convertible, a 1968 convertible, and a 1987 with T-tops.

Services will be 11:00 a.m. on Monday, February 26, 2024, at Haley McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory. Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service on Monday at the funeral home.

Haley McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory is both honored and privileged to be entrusted with the care of William E. Hamilton. Leave your messages of condolence for the family of Mr. Hamilton and sign his virtual guestbook at