Martha O.K. Hamilton, 91: Her talents, hard work helped island thrive

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Martha Oliver KomLosy Hamilton, 91, of Chebeague Island, died unexpectedly Dec. 19 at Mercy Hospital, with her family by her side.

She was born Feb. 27, 1923, in Waycross, Georgia, a daughter of Frederick and Andromache Bailey KomLosy. Although she was raised and attended school in Malden, Massachusetts, her heart was always on Chebeague Island, her family’s summer home. They eventually moved there year-round, and she graduated from Chebeague Island High School in 1942 with a class of nine students.

She married Floyd Hamilton, a fellow islander, after he returned from service in World War II. Their son, Michael, was born in 1950.

Martha spent her adult life using her talents to benefit the Chebeague Island community in myriad ways. During World War II, she took her turn searching for enemy aircraft from the island’s observation tower. She was the island’s notary for more than seven decades, and at one time or another operated a store, served as a substitute teacher, and worked in the post office and the golf club.

Hamilton will long be remembered as the founder of the Chebeague Island Library and its librarian from 1965-2000. It was her vision that inspired the community to undertake a $250,000 campaign to build a new library in 1990. Chebeague Islanders had never before tried to raise so much money, but with Hamilton’s help they exceeded the goal by $90,000. For many years, she also wrote a library column for the Yarmouth Shopping Notes.

She also was a founding member of Chebeague’s parent-teacher organization, the Island Council, and the local Grange. Over the years, she held many offices in the island’s United Methodist Church, participated in Ladies Aid, and directed the church choir. She was still an active choir member at the time of her death.

Music was important to Hamilton. She was an original member of the Whalers, an island singing group founded more than 20 years ago, and she participated in its most recent concert in early December.

Hamilton immersed herself in the history of Chebeague, and helped create what became the core of the Chebeague Island Historical Society’s collection. She understood the island’s intertwining family tree, collected genealogical materials, curated several exhibits, and served on the society’s board of directors. She also was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She loved children, served as a Girl Scout leader, and volunteered at the island school in many capacities, including the Art Goes to School Program. The week before her death, Hamilton was recognized for her volunteer contributions at the school’s winter concert.

She was as a lifelong learner who loved to read, attended elder hostels, and traveled to Japan, Great Britain and other European countries. She also was known as a gifted artist, and for decades designed the covers of the island’s monthly calendar. When Chebeague became a town in 2007, Hamilton’s design was chosen out of 30 entries to become the official Chebeague Island seal.

Hamilton was predeceased by her husband in 1993; her parents; her sisters, Virginia Rose KomLosy and Andromache KomLosy Thurlow; and a brother, Frederick KomLosy II.

She is survived by her son, Michael, wife Denise and their son, Lucas, all of Cousins Island; her brother, James, of Florida; nieces, Stacey Stewart, Jami KomLosy and Fiona KomLosy; nephews, Jonathan KomLosy, of Chebeague, and Frederick KomLosy III, of Florida; and grandnephews, Ozric Stewart and Seamus Cole.

Visitation was held Jan. 3, and in accordance with Hamilton’s wishes, her funeral will take place on Chebeague this summer.

Contributions in her memory can be made to the Chebeague Island Hall, c/o Beverly Johnson, Treasurer, 247 South Road, Chebeague Island, ME 04017.

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