From family practice to farming, Dr. Maxine Hamilton was a local icon

By Tom Barr -

Dr. Hamilton

Dr. Hamilton

WILMINGTON — Dr. Maxine Hamilton was a Clinton County icon, in many ways, to very many people.

A word often used to describe her is “special” — from the families of the 7,000 or so babies she delivered in her lifetime, to the many generations of families she cared for, to the patients she stitched up and comforted after a minor accident or a major illness.

She died Saturday on the family farm, surrounded by family, just a few days after her 99th birthday.

“We all loved her,” said Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth of Dr. Hamilton. “What made her special is that she was as comfortable on a tractor seat as in an operating room.”

An article about her in the March 5, 2006 News Journal — marking her election to the Class of 2006 Outstanding Women of Clinton County — reiterated that point.

“I drove a team of horses, and drove tractors, from the time I was 10 years old,” she said. “I did all that you do on a farm. I loved it. I have always liked to work, ever since I was little.”

Stanforth told the News Journal Monday, “I have so many fond memories of her I don’t know where to start. She delivered my three children and my first grandchild. She gave them outstanding care as they grew up.”

“It’s the end of an era,” said Dr. John Hollon, longtime local family physician, lifelong Clinton Countian and, like Dr. Hamilton, a former Clinton Memorial Hospital Chief of Staff.

“Dr. Maxine was a ‘family doctor’. Her patients ranged the entire age range. She delivered babies, cared for pediatric patients, treated adults and also did geriatrics. She administered anesthesia at the hospital and attended to her patients that were in the hospital. At times she would assist in surgery. And of course house calls were provided.

“She and her husband, David, an internist, took two weeks vacation each year by not working Saturdays during the summer!” he added. “She loved the practice of medicine and her patients, but probably loved farming and being on her tractors as much or more!

“She was an outstanding person who contributed much to this area, including her patients and the medical staff/hospital.”

Sally Buchanan told the News Journal, “She was my friend and we could talk together about everything from gardening, especially raising strawberry tomatoes, to the current state of healthcare and more in between. She was a truly an outstanding woman of our county, and even though honored in 2006 by the Outstanding Women of Clinton County, I don’t think she would say she did anything ‘great’. But those who knew her, knew the recognition was well-deserved. I will truly miss her friendship, our talks, and especially her smile.”

Driven to achieve

While attending Wilmington College, young Maxine Keiter wasn’t much into extracurricular activities — “I was just interested in getting an education,” she said.

She attended the University of Cincinnati, graduating from the UC College of Medicine in 1949, then worked an internship at General Hospital, where she met Dr. David Hamilton, who would become her husband.

She began her general practice in 1953, and she and her husband practiced together until 1987.

“They were a team: Dr. David and Dr. Maxine Hamilton,” said former respiratory therapist and former Wilmington Mayor Randy Riley.

“Dr. Maxine was extraordinary. She routinely provided anesthesia in the operating rooms at Clinton Memorial Hospital. Thousands of surgical cases were successful because of her skill. She also delivered babies — hundreds of them.

“When she retired, she didn’t stop,” Riley added. “Her years of dedicated service to the Clinton County Park Board helped with the establishment of many of our local parks. Maxine loved the outdoors. Farming was her passion. This entire community is a better place to live in because Dr. Maxine Hamilton lived here with us.”

Dr. Hamilton also served on the board of the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Clinton County Housing Commission.

But her loves were family, farming and family practice.

“From Fayetteville to New Burlington to Morrow to Sabina to Port William, we worked several counties,” she told the News Journal in 2006. “It was our policy that financial means was not a necessity to be seen. It was a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job. We got calls at home on the weekend. My husband David counted them one weekend — it was 25 calls.”

However, she made it a point to add, “I loved to practice medicine. It was a pleasure to me.”

Dr. Hamilton’s obituary and service information are on Page 2 of today’s News Journal.

Dr. Hamilton Hamilton

By Tom Barr