Christian 02

Donna Ruth (Hackett) Hamilton

January 26, 1933 ~ March 11, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Donna Hamilton Obituary

Donna Ruth (Hackett) Hamilton, 91, of Elk Grove, Sacramento County, died peacefully, surrounded by family on March 11, 2024, after struggling with age-related issues health. 

Donna, born in the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa, to the Rev. Dwight and Ruth Hackett, was the youngest of four daughters, including Laura, Frances and Barbara. The family moved from California to Iowa where Dwight was completing professional studies and practicing as a pastor for the Disciples of Christ denomination.

Donna’s formative years were spent in Dinuba, California, where she met the love of her life, C. Richard “Dick” Hamilton, through their mutual involvement in a church youth group. After graduating from high school and attending one year of college, Donna eloped to Honolulu to marry Dick, where he was serving in the Navy during the Korean War.

Donna and Dick raised their family of four children – Kathy, Mark, Mike and Karen – in Visalia, California. They devoted much passion and energy to the College of Sequoias, where first Dick and then Donna taught and supported the growth and development of students, and to the Visalia First Christian Church, where Donna and Dick served as elders and community leaders. Their dedication to the Visalia community was nurtured through their membership in both institutions over many years,

Donna was a remarkable human being in her compassion for others, her dedication to family and her leadership in the Visalia and the College of Sequoias (COS) communities. She played a key leadership role in the formation and consolidation of the COS Early Childhood Development Department and its lab/school in the 1970s and 1980s. In this role, Donna supported many novice childcare professionals and parents as they gathered skills to love, support and nurture children and their healthy and happy growth. Supporting children to play and grow and supporting parents and teachers in their journeys, was Donna’s foremost professional passion. She had a tremendous positive impact. 

Donna and Dick loved and supported COS, especially its athletic teams, over many decades. As parents, they took their children to many college concerts, plays and especially sports events up and down the San Joaquin Valley. At COS games, Donna often could be seen cheering on the baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball and football teams - both men’s and women’s – while knitting scarves for athletes and others, or reading to or playing with children (typically, athletes’ offspring or siblings) in the stands. Dick often could be seen, and heard, behind the microphone as a broadcaster during these games, happy knowing his wife was nearby in full and enthusiastic support. 

Donna was preceded in death by her parents, Dwight and Ruth Hackett, and her sisters, Laura (Warren) Carlson, Frances (Harsh) Brown and Barbara (Joe) Martzen. She is survived by her cherished husband of nearly 72 years, Dick, and by her children, Kathy (partner Steve), Mark (partner Lauri), Mike (partner Agnes) and Karen (partner Craig). She also is survived by her grandchildren, Maria Ajelandra and Andrea; Rachel and Josh; Dylan and Oliver; and Katy, Matt, and Fry. She is survived by one great grandchild, Noah, and also by her sister-in-law Phyllis McMillan, her brother-in-law Jack Hamilton, and many nieces and nephews.

Donna’s family members are deeply grateful to the wonderful caregivers who brought her comfort in the last phase of her life, including medical professionals with the Mercy/Dignity Health Care System and at the Asian Community Care Center. Special thanks go to the team at Bruceville Point, including Ashleen, Dominique, Tina, Christina, Marcelo, Taylana, Paulina, Emily and Misty.

Donna’s life will be celebrated at 3 p.m. on June 1 at the Porter Fieldhouse at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia (just off of Woodland Drive), following her burial (family only) at Smith Mountain Cemetery in Dinuba, CA. Family, friends and community members are welcome to attend the Celebration of Life. Casual attire is encouraged and children are especially welcomed to attend. RSVP to Kathy (khamilto218@gmail.com) or Karen (krnhmltn1@gmail.com). In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the College of Sequoias Foundation in Donna’s memory. Remembrances may be sent to: COS Foundation, 915 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA, 93277 or online at COS.edu/Foundation. 

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