Howard Eugene Hamilton Sr., a retired Nationwide Insurance Co. agent and avid collector of vintage automobiles and railroad memorabilia, died of lung cancer Friday at his Granite home. He was 72.
Mr. Hamilton, who was born in Granite and spent his entire life there, was a 1952 graduate of Milford Mill High School.
He worked as a plumber and served in the National Guard before establishing the Hamilton Insurance Agency in Rockdale in 1955. He retired in 1998.
Mr. Hamilton enjoyed collecting and restoring classic automobiles.
"He loved cars from the 1930s era," said his daughter Pamela Jean Adams of Eldersburg. "His collection of 16 cars included a 1932 cherry-and-black Rolls-Royce, a 1932 black Ford cabriolet and a 1932 Pierce-Arrow touring car."
His collection also included several Ford Thunderbirds and a 1950 Mack fire engine. He also liked driving one of his cars in Towson, Catonsville and Dundalk Fourth of July parades.
Mr. Hamilton liked taking short road trips to Pennsylvania or West Virginia on his white Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.
He also collected Lionel and American Flyer model trains and built and operated an extensive model railroad garden in his yard.
First-time visitors were often surprised by the sight of the front of a former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad diesel locomotive that Mr. Hamilton had purchased from a friend and mounted on the rear wall of his home.
"It was painted in the B&O; colors of blue, gray and gold, and looked as though a train was coming out of my house," said his wife of 49 years, the former Catherine Norris Jones.
Mr. Hamilton was a former president of the Granite Community Association and had been leader of the Boy Scout Explorer troop at Granite Presbyterian Church. He was a Mason and a member of the Freedom Lodge in Sykesville.
He was a former president of the Randallstown Exchange Club and was a past district president of the Mason-Dixon Exchange Clubs.
"A procession of 50 antique cars will accompany him from the funeral home to the church for his funeral," his daughter said.
Mr. Hamilton was a member for more than 60 years of Granite Presbyterian Church, 10637 Old Court Road, Woodstock, where services will be held at 11 a.m. today.
Also surviving are a son, Hamilton Eugene "Butch" Hamilton Jr. of Granite; another daughter, Nancy Lynn Nathanson of Reisterstown; a brother, Donald Louis Hamilton of Granite; and four grandchildren.