Larry Max Hamilton spent his life as an educator, mentor, and companion, enjoying a love for life and the fellowship of others. He passed away on Jan. 5, 2023 at the age of 83.
Larry was the oldest of three sons born to Max and Anna Hamilton in Chillicothe, MO. After excelling in sports during high school and college, he pursued a 40-year career coaching track and field, swimming and diving, and football, as well as serving as athletic director at William Jewell College. Besides collegiate athletics, Larry managed area age-group swim/dive programs and acted as meet director for Special Olympics. In 1992, he was presented with an Award of Merit from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and in 2001 he was inducted into the William Jewell Hall of Fame.
After their love advanced through a tennis courtship, Larry married his wife of 38 years, Phyllis Playter, in 1984. Both have been active members in the Liberty community—Larry served as Deacon, Elder, and Worship Leader at Liberty Christian Church and was on the board of Liberty Parks and Recreation. On weekends, he could be found on the family land hunting, fishing, and appreciating the natural world, often sharing his love of the outdoors with colleagues and friends.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents and leaves behind his wife Phyllis, daughter Shelly Renft (husband Mike) and son Clay Hamilton (wife Shawn Powers) from a previous marriage and son Michael Rumsey, brothers Ronald Hamilton (wife Jeannie) and Roger Hamilton (wife Bonnie), grandchildren Taylor Bottoms (husband Madison) and Elliott Renft, and the close-knit extended families of his aunt Mary Lou Crawford and uncles Chester, Dale, and Floyd Pew. He also leaves behind countless students, athletes, and friends upon whose lives he’s made a lasting impact. A funeral service is scheduled for 2 pm Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 at Liberty Christian Church, 427 E. Kansas, Liberty, MO 64068. The family will greet friends from 5 to 7:00 p.m., Monday evening at the church. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the William Jewell College Cardinal Athletic Fund (https://alumni.jewell.edu/give) on his behalf.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.speakschapel.com (Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel (816) 373-3600)