Phil became very active in all phases of athletic beginning in elementary school. While attending Grant Street School, he participated in summer playground baseball, where he first came in contact with coach Bud Plank. He also attended the YMCA, where he participated in basketball, volleyball, swimming, and rifle club, instructed by Stu Martin.
While attending Junior and Senior High School he continued his YMCA activities and added church league basketball and fast pitch softball in the summer. Phil also had time to deliver the Ashland Times-Gazette and play trombone in Junior Band.
Entering his Freshman year he gave up his paper route to his brother Larry (Jess) and decided to play football rather then the trombone. As a Freshman and Sophomore Phil was on the Junior Varsity football, basketball, and baseball teams under Al Ziemke and Sid Boyd. He also participated in Bud Plank’s intramural programs including wrestling, bowling, and dodge ball.
His Junior and Senior years he did not make the varsity basketball team but did get some playing time on the varsity football team playing on defense and also got some time on the varsity baseball team, but was up and down between Coach Plank’s Varsity and Coach Boyd’s Junior Varsity. He also served as one of Coach Plank’s cadets in the Physical Education Department.
As a Senior Phil was a member of the 1951 undefeated football team playing on defense and lettering. George Valentine was an Assistant Coach for the football team and after football convinced Phil to give up baseball and tryout for the track team.
Phil won the first four of his races but then due to his inexperience and starting 18th of 18 runners came in 4th at the Mansfield Relays. The following week he ran a poor mile as part of a relay team at the Ohio Wesleyan Relays. But after that he never lost a race the remainder of the track season. The tenth race of his high school career he won the Class A State Mile in the time of 4:29.2. The second place finisher was John Ashworth of Marion. Phil’s first mile as a track participant was against Marion and he defeated Ashworth with a time of 4:48:8 to everyone’s surprise, since Ashworth had placed second in the State Meet the previous year. Phil gives Coach Valentine all the credit for his success in his high school track career. He really tried to do everything Coach Valentine was teaching him, but if sometimes the results were not what was wanted he always encouraged Phil by saying, You’re doing great, we are right on track to break through to the next level.”
After graduating from high school Phil ran in an Ohio AAU meet that summer against University runners, coming third in the mile and fourth in the two mile. In the fall of 1952 he attended Ohio State University and was a member of the track and cross-country team. Leaving school after the second quarter he attended school at Baldwin-Wallace in 1954. After sitting out the freshman year he lettered on the BW track team.
In September of 1957 he entered the United States Army and was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany. In 1958-59 he became a member of the Company “A” 38th Infantry Regimental track team, the 38th team, the 3rd Division, USAREUR team, and The Consell International DuSport Militaire (CISM) track team, At the request of a German track official and at the urging of the Colonel he became a member of the German Track Club and competed in meets in Germany, Austria, and Belgium. From late March until September of 1958-59, he competed every weekend in a German or Army track meet in the 1500, 3000, 5000 meters and sometimes the 800 and 400 meters.
Returning to the states in 1959 he competed in his last mile at Fort Dix. The Fort Dix Commander, decided to put on a track meet for returning Armed Forces, which include about 300 trackman from the USAREUR meet, which had concluded in Nuremberg, Germany. Phil won the mile with what he believes was his best time of 4:09.
Returning to Ashland, he played basketball in the Industrial League for Smith Woodshop and Hess and Clark. He also played fast pitch softball for F.E. Myers, Sanitary Market, V.F.W. and A.L. Garber.
Phil is the eldest son of Roger and Mary Hamilton and is married to Judith Koons Hamilton. They have three daughters, Kimberlee Sue, who lives in Gilroy, California and works for Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California and is also Vice President of Lockheed’s Union. Tina Marie, lives in Campbell, California and works for Loral Space Systems as a Senior Benefits Analyst of the benefits department, and Michele Renee lives in Portland, Tennessee, and is Assistant Manager at the Avenue Department Store. They have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Phil is retired from Frigidaire Company as a manager at the corporate offices in Dublin, Ohio after 30 years. Twenty years of those were as the Operations Manager for the Distribution Centers in Charlotte, North Carolina, Redwood City, California, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Phil and Judi now spend their retirement taking care of eight acres, two horses, a large garden, four cats, one rabbit, and one dog.
Nominator: Larry Jess Hamilton