Dr. Charles J. Hamilton

Dr. Charles J. Hamilton

March 23, 1922- September 8, 2012


A resident of Quincy and Cape Cod, Charlie Hamilton’s long career in both politics and government was highlighted by his tenure as Assistant Treasurer under former State Treasurer Robert Q. Crane, and his role in the development of the Massachusetts State Lottery.

“As Assistant Executive Director of the State Lottery, Charlie Hamilton played a crucial lead role in the days of that enterprise,” former State Treasurer Crane recalled.

“Hamilton used every bit of his experience and his skills to bridge the gap between the politicians who created the lottery and professionals who were hired to make it run,” Crane said. “The present day success of the Massachusetts State Lottery is due in great part to the skillful management of people and programs by Hamilton in those critical early years of its operation.”

With his retirement from the Treasurer’s Office and the Lottery in 1979, Charlie ended a career in the public sector that he had pursued since his boyhood in South Boston and Dorchester.

That career, which spanned three decades, included service as Chief Investigator and Executive Secretary to former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward J. McCormack, Jr. and as Assistant State Purchasing Agent under former Massachusetts Governors Endicott “Chub” Peabody, John A. Volpe, and Francis W. Sargent.

Long active in Democratic Party politics, Charlie, a dual citizen of both The United States and Ireland, participated in numerous city, state, and national campaigns.

Following his service as a U.S. Army Sergeant in the Pacific Theatre in World War II, Hamilton was elected Chairman of the Ward 15 Democratic Committee in Dorchester. He later became Democratic State Committeeman representing wards 15, 16, 17, in Boston, and was elected President of the Young Democrats of New England.

Hamilton was a Presidential Elector and member of the Electoral College in 1964, casting his vote for President Lyndon B. Johnson. A delegate to many state and national conventions, Hamilton was a friend of such prominent democrats as Presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. As well as U.S. Senator Adlai Stevenson, U.S. House Speakers John W. McCormack and Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill as well as Massachusetts House Speakers Robert H. Quinn, David M. Bartley, and Thomas W. McGee.

Valued as both a friend and a confidant by dozens of democratic office-holders and office-seekers over the years, Hamilton was regarded as a “no nonsense” advisor not afraid to challenge prevailing political wisdom. A good listener, a keen analyst of polling data, and a person closely attuned to the public mood, his
advice and opinion was sought, especially during political campaigns.

Charlie’s role as a shrewd reader of public opinion and a skillful political mastermind was immortalized in the novel “Kell”, a book about Bay State politics, written by, the late Jack Flannery, a close friend and former Chief Secretary to former Governor Francis W. Sargent. Hamilton was “Charlie Coffey” in Flannery’s “Kell”. And when Flannery authored a long-running newspaper series entitled “The Pols”, Hamilton was the role model for the character “Charlie Casey.”

Hamilton’s career in politics and government was matched by his achievements in the field of education. A graduate of the of The Mather School of Meeting House Hill in Dorchester, and of the former High School of Commerce, Charlie received his A.B. from Calvin Coolidge College, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Suffolk University, and his Doctorate in Education from Boston University. He also received an Honorary Degree in Public Administration from the New England Law School/Boston, where he served on the School’s Board of Trustees for 20 years, six of those years as Vice Chairman. Charlie in his position at the school helped inspire and encourage hundreds of men and women in their pursuit of an education and practice in law.

Charlie’s other passion in life was movies and trivia. Charlie played in a lot of local shows. Charlie’s father Frank was in Vaudeville. And so Charlie learned the business well. And he knew more about that business than most of them in it. He met the late actor Claude Rains back in the sixties and they formed a bond for many years. When friends would kid Charlie and say “your pal Claude is in town do you think can meet him?” Charlie didn’t miss a beat; He went down to the colonial theatre in Boston where Claude was playing and got his way into Claude’s dressing room and told him that his friends don’t think I know you. Claude said oh really, how do we take care of that? And Charlie brought Claude up to the State House and introduced him to the then Attorney General Ed McCormack and Claude told them Charlie was one of his best friends. After all they were both actors. And that ended that for all the doubters.

Upon his retirement from public service in 1979, Charlie became president of several consulting firm, specializing in insurance, investments, and real estate development. He was also a licensed Private Investigator.

An avid baseball fan and player, Charlie sponsored the “Hamilton” club in the Boston Park League that played its games at Ronan Park and the town field in Dorchester in the late forties and fifties.

The son of the late Marie F. (Madden) and John F. Hamilton, an Actor in show business, Charlie leaves a sister, Virginia M. Savage of Quincy, several nieces and nephews, his best friend and business partner Attorney Peter O’Neill, as well as his dear friends former Speaker of the Massachusetts House Dave Bartley, and former Massachusetts State Treasurer Bob Crane.