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Hamlett, John William

August 11, 1935 –
 August 10, 2021


LCDR John William Hamlett, USN, retired, age 85 died August 10, 2021 in Richardson, Texas. He was born in Houston, Texas on August the 11, 1935. John attended Lamar High School and graduated from the University of Texas in 1957. At age 21 John was commissioned into the Navy as an Ensign, the first step in his long and multifaceted navel career. His first tour of duty was aboard the USNS General Hugh Gaffey, a Navy transport ship where he met his future wife Elly who was traveling with her family, Air Force Chaplain and Mrs. Luther McArthur to the Colonel’s new duty station in Japan. He served aboard various types of navel ships, including the command ship USS Canberra during the Cuban missile crisis. John was the military spokesman aboard the USS Essex for the touchdown and recovery of the Apollo 7 spacecraft. He was attached to the headquarters of the Commander in Chief Atlantic fleet when the disaster of the submarine USS Scorpion occurred. While stationed in Dallas, as the new Public Affairs Officer for the Southwest Recruiting Command, the war in Vietnam came to an end. John was the lone Navy PAO, along with several Air Force officers, who were selected to be escorts for the returning POWs during Operation Homecoming. He was very proud to be apart of these emotional reunions, including service members such as Captain Charlie Plumb and U.S. Senators, John McCain and Sam Johnson. Upon retiring after 25 years in the Navy, John taught as a substitute in Richardson. One of his greatest joys was teaching at Arapaho and Prairie Creek Elementary. He truly loved the students and referred to them as his “kids.” He wrote two books for his students, Pigtails and Inkwells, stories of his childhood and life during WWII as a young boy, and Luke Elliott A Young Texas Pioneer, stories of Texas history. John loved his family, his friends, taking cruises, traveling, and sitting on the beach. John and Elly have been 50 year members of First United Methodist Church Richardson where they attended the Seekers and Apostles Sunday school classes. He was also an usher for 15 years. Every summer for 20+ years he taught the 6th grade Vacation Bible School. John is survived by his wife of 62 years, Eleanor “Elly” McArthur Hamlett; daughter Marty Hamlett, son John L Hamlett and wife Penny; grandchildren Luke Hamlett and wife Cyndi, Haley Hamlett Odom and husband Graham, and Ian Hamlett; great grandchildren Elliot and Baker Odom; nephews Steve White and wife Diane, Leigh Milton and wife Tonya; nieces Laura Moore and Tammy Ogle; brother-in-law Luther McArthur and family, and sister-in-law Ann Milton. John was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth Fry and William Alexander Hamlett; as well as his brother and sister William F Hamlett and Early Hammock. A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church Richardson on Friday August 20, 2021 at 4 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be made to the church he loved, FUMCR, or Salem Camp Ground, the Methodist Camp Meeting that John and family attend every July. (PO Box 243, Conyers, Georgia 30012) Please leave the family condolences and share memories on this website.  

Arrangements under the direction of:

Aria Cremation Service and Funeral Home

19310 Preston Road

Dallas, Texas 75252

(214) 306-6700

    Julie Hess
    12 Aug 2021

    John was an amazing man who loved people and served well. He substituted for my class many times and the students loved him. I could rest in knowing they were in capable hands. He was a blessing to so many and will be greatly missed.

    Julia Fleming
    12 Aug 2021

    John.Hamlett.was a wonderful man who was a blessing to the children he taught as a substitute teacher for many years. As a sign language interpreter who translated to the deaf students for him often I remember he could hold the children’s interest in the palm of his hand. This included ALL the students in the class. He was a Naval officer and served his country with dedication. He has left a lasting legacy to so many!

    14 Aug 2021

    joy davis
    August 13, 2021

    The 1953 Graduating Class of Lamar High School wish to send our thoughts and prayers to John’s family and close friends. He was our friend and we appreciated all he did and was. We send our sympathy and hope all your memories will be as great as ours are of John. He was truly our friend.

    Debbie Mulvenna
    14 Aug 2021

    Elly and family, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Prayers for comfort and warm memories.

    Kendra McDougal
    14 Aug 2021

    Remarkable career, man and legacy. He is and will be forever remembered fondly by the McDougal Family. We met Mr. Hamlett at PCE and our girls still share his stories and LOVED seeing him as their substitute. Our hearts go out to the Hamlett family as you celebrate his life and continue onward with the memories, laughs and moments of this amazing husband, father, mentor, teacher and friend.

    Betsy Abernathy
    14 Aug 2021

    Mr. Hamlet, as the kids knew him, was the most remarkable substitute teacher! Both of my boys respected and adored him. He truly loved his job and loved our children. We own his book PIGTAILS AND INKWELLS and shall cherish the memory of knowing such a fine man. Well done, good and faithful servant!

    Jim Durkee
    14 Aug 2021

    John was a good friend of mine at Lamar. He gave me an autographed copy of his book, Pigtails and Inkwells, 17 years ago, which has a special place on my book shelf. My sincere condolences to Elly and the rest of his family. He will be missed by all who knew him.

    Logan Bartolome
    14 Aug 2021

    Mr. Hamlett. A name we always looked forward to hearing when the teacher announced that a substitute teacher was needed, and a face I always looked forward to seeing after church services let out. He was a blessing to all that knew him.

    Joy Bonano
    14 Aug 2021

    It is so hard to say goodbye to a wonderful good friend as John was. He was loved by all he met. We went through junior high and high school together. He always did so much for out class at Lamar, creating the most wonderful book about each person’s life for our 50th Reunion. And everyone remembers his fun articles in the Southwestern Times and his Top Teen write-up each time. My deepest sympathy and love to you Elly and your family. God bless you. Joy Sell Bonano

    Monica Powell
    15 Aug 2021

    Mr. Hamlett brought so much joy to his students. I remember when he used to give spelling tests, he would always make “chocolate blue bell ice cream” the star of every example sentence. His memory lives on through the hundreds of students he taught through the years.

    Suzanne Martin
    16 Aug 2021

    Elly, Our hearts and prayers to you and your family. John had a smile and heart that showed love and compassion to everyone. Sending hugs and love.

    Barbara Becerra
    16 Aug 2021

    I am who John referred to as “cuz”. First cousin, one of two remaining.
    I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to the times we emailed or called. He shared so much family history, that I often had to take notes.
    And he told these things as the great storyteller that he was. No wonder his students loved him. He had a great sense of humor, and a super memory. It was so much fun to listen to his stories.
    I greatly miss John. He was like the head of our family after my father and brother passed.
    Now there is just me and another cousin who is hard to get a hold of.
    Now, I guess it is up to me to share the family history and stories. All good, except for a squabble over a tea cart and a bridal veil. But those things were very minor. We shared a great family, one grounded in our Lord Jesus Christ, and I am thankful for each one of them. I am so thankful for John and the honorable life he led.
    Miss you Jack (that’s what I always called him).
    Love you, the Cuz.

    17 Aug 2021

    I had Mr. Hamlett as a substitute every so often while I attended PCE. He was one of greatest of all time. Years later seeing him at church, he would say “Hello Gracie!” and know exactly who I was from school. I just want to say thank you to the Hamlett family for sharing his wonderful soul with us. I am so sorry for your loss. He will be missed by so many.

    Julia, Joel, & Jamie Saverline
    18 Aug 2021

    We are sadden by the loss of our favorite substitute teacher, Mr. Hamlett. It was such a joy when he subbed at Prairie Creek Elementary. Seeing him usher at FUMCR on Sundays made us smile. Mr. Hamlett was a mentor and an inspiration. His love for the students he taught went well far beyond the days at Prairie Creek. He kept in touch with us and always was interested in our lives. Mr. Hamlett will always live in our hearts. We will cherish our memories of him.

    Fair Winds and Following Seas

    The Pendleton’s
    18 Aug 2021

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you! John was an amazing person and we loved catching up with him every week at church! He is the one that got us started at FUMCR and he kept us coming back. Jesus asks us to be disciples, and John was just that! Thank you, John for inviting us and your persistent follow up to get us involved. You will be so missed!!

    Phyllis Elaine Holton
    18 Aug 2021

    John lived a life to be admired. His education and military accomplishments were many. Even when he retired he was an inspiration to so many at FUMCR. The youth loved him and his Sunday School Class loved his stories. He will be so missed. My condolences to all the family.

    Tammy Ogle
    18 Aug 2021

    A person can only have one favorite Uncle, and John was mine. Thanks for all the fun you made our family vacations! Çore bells and fun places will always remind me of you! Sail on❤❤❤

    Beth (Carter) Martin
    20 Aug 2021

    It’s hard to sum up what a great friend John Hamlett was to me and the other teachers at Prairie Creek. He came through for us time and time again, judging Science Fair projects and rearranging his schedule to cover our class in the event of an emergency. But even greater than that, we looked forward to the days that he subbed next door, so we could enjoy his presence as much as our students always did! My favorite memories of John were the times he joined us for early-morning prayer group before the students arrived. John will be greatly missed, but I’m so happy to know he’s in heaven, complete and healthy, praising God…..and telling his Navy stories to any and every listener!

    Jimmy McBride
    20 Aug 2021

    John was such a great friend and I have so many happy memories with him. He was always so supportive of me and I enjoyed reading all his articles in the Southwestern Times. I will certainly miss him. I will always remember what he did for our class with that great memory book. I have such great admiration for him. So many others thought so highly of him too.
    My condolences to Elly and all the family. Sincerely, Jimmy McBride

    Curtis W Miller
    25 Aug 2021

    Mary Margaret and I want to express our sincere condolences, Elly. It was our pleasure to know and serve you both.
    May God grant you His peace and Grace during these times!

    Rosemarie House
    22 May 2022

    I only learned of John’s passing throug the Facebook post about the bench dedicated to him. Forgive my tardiness in expressing my grief and yet my joy in knowing him. John was SPECIAL, an encourager, a fine Christian man. Surely many, many of those who knew him will remember him with incredible fondness!

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