The great philosopher, Socrates, once said that “the key to greatness is to be in reality what we appear to be.” Those who had the privilege of knowing Jack Hamilton would most certainly agree that he was the epitome of that statement.
Earlier this year, the Louisiana Cotton & Grain Association was pleased to have the opportunity to nominate Mr. Hamilton for induction into the 2016 Class of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program’s Hall of Fame. As you could imagine, we were so thrilled and honored to have learned that Mr. Hamilton was, indeed, selected to be posthumously inducted this year.
Mr. Hamilton was one of the founding members and the very first president of the Louisiana Cotton & Grain Association (originally the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association) in 1968. In addition to serving the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association, Mr. Hamilton was also the driving force of the Louisiana Independent Cotton Warehouse Association and the Louisiana Agricultural Corporation Self-Insurance Fund, having served as board members and chairmen of both of those organizations, both of which are still active and successful today. It didn’t take long for the national industry spotlights to shine on Mr. Hamilton as he became involved in the leadership of the National Cotton Council and Cotton Incorporated in the early 1980’s through the late 1990’s, having served as the Chairman of Cotton Incorporated from 1988-1990 and Chairman of the National Cotton Council in 1998, as well as serving as President of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, a director of Cotton Council International and the NCC’s Joint Bale Packaging Committee.
Despite whatever role Mr. Hamilton was serving, in his heart, he remained a simple man. He was born in the “Delta” in Cleveland, Mississippi, served his country in the United States Marine Corps in Korea, went on to earn an accounting degree from Louisiana State University and, ultimately, made Louisiana his home. He began his agricultural career working for the Amacker family, thus becoming a cotton producer and ginner in Lake Providence, Louisiana and helping develop the Hollybrook Gin & Warehouse and Hollybrook Land Company into one of the premier agricultural operations of its time. “Mr. Jack,” as he was most affectionately known, was always humble and always a true, southern gentleman.
We, along with the industry, lost “Mr. Jack” in December of 2001 and, although he is still greatly missed, he and the dreams he had and the work he did will never be forgotten.
Those to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, alongside Mr. Hamilton, will be Mr. Bill Baxter of Arkansas, Mr. Kent Nix of Texas and Mr. Nick Hahn (First CEO of Cotton Incorporated) of New York.
The induction ceremony will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 6, 2016 at the Hotel Monteleon in conjunction with The Cotton Board/Cotton Incorporated Joint Meetings. Mr. Hamilton is the first Louisianian to be inducted and we feel that being inducted in our home state is an even sweeter occasion. Our very own Dr. Jay Hardwick, from Newellton, Louisiana, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Like Mr. Hamilton, Dr. Hardwick has also served as Chairman of the National Cotton Council, Cotton Incorporated and as President of the Louisiana Cotton & Grain Association. Mr. Hamilton’s son, Jack Jr., and daughter, Lee, will attend the ceremony and accept the honor in memory of their father.