Judson College saddened by death of Frances Dew Hamilton ’57
The Judson College community is saddened to learn of the death of Frances Dew Hamilton, distinguished alumna, professor, historian, and author.
Visitation will be held Thursday evening July 28 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at Ridout’s Trussville Chapel, 1500 Gadsden Highway, Birmingham, AL 35235.
The funeral service will be held Friday, July 29, at 2:00pm at Trussville First Baptist Church, 128 Chalkville Road N, Trussville, AL 35173
Hamilton graduated from Judson in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in history and French. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia in 1959. She taught as assistant professor of history at Samford University for 37 years and worked on its campus for 13 years as executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission (ABHC). Hamilton was the first woman to direct an entity of the Alabama Baptist state convention.
In her work with the ABHC, Hamilton encouraged and assisted in the collection and preservation of the history of Alabama Baptist churches, associations, state convention entities and auxiliaries, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, and Alabama colleges. She co-authored “Daughters of the Dream”, the 1989 sesquicentennial history of Judson College with Elizabeth Crabtree Wells, and worked to update that history for the College’s 175th anniversary in 2013.
Judson College awarded Hamilton the doctor of humane letters degree in 1992, and she was elected to the Judson College Board of Trustees in 2007. According to colleague and friend Dr. Lonette Berg, current ABHC Director, Hamilton was a “tireless proponent of Judson College.” In recognition of her loyalty to her Alma Mater, Hamilton was honored in 2011 as the recipient of the Judson College Alumnae Association’s Outstanding Alumna Award. In her nomination of Hamilton for the award, Berg also said that Hamilton “embodies the qualities of a Judson graduate–excellent character, determined leadership, willingness to serve, strong Christian values, and unfailing loyalty.” (The Alabama Baptist, April 21, 2011)
Her Alma Mater could not agree more. Judson, Alabama Baptists, and friends in the state of Alabama and elsewhere will miss the passion and devotion she brought to her work and the light she shared with all she encountered.
Upon her retirement from the ABHC, Hamilton said that Psalm 102:18 dictated her life’s work: “‘Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.’ I feel like that is a direct command to us.” (The Alabama Baptist, June 8, 2006)
May we be unwaveringly faithful to the legacy that Frances Hamilton leaves. Our condolences to her family, colleagues, and friends.
Video: At Judson College’s June 2016 Commencement, Hamilton awarded her colleague Elizabeth Crabtree Wells with the Doctor of Humane Letters degree and gave the ceremony’s benediction. See a video of her prayer here. (Video by Bill Mathews)