Frank Joseph Hamilton, retired founder of Profit Programming Inc. and a former bank director, died Feb. 19 of prostate cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Cedarcroft resident was 76.
Mr. Hamilton was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in 1951, and earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1954 from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
He studied law for a year at Marquette University before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1956, where he served as a member of the ceremonial drill team in Washington, and as an economics and accounting instructor at the Marine Corps Institute.
Mr. Hamilton was discharged in 1957 and went to work as a salesman for Burroughs Corp. in Baltimore.
"Joe loved to sell and always identified himself first and foremost as a salesman," said his wife of 34 years, the former Carol Davis.
"He was on the leading edge of the computer revolution and, in the late 1960s, tried to convince people that it was possible to keep people's bank records up to date as soon as the teller received a transaction," she said.
When the first automated teller machines began to appear in and around Baltimore in the early 1980s, Mr. Hamilton enjoyed taking one of his daughters to various locations to demonstrate that even a child could use an ATM, Mrs. Hamilton said.
In 1974, Mr. Hamilton established Profit Programming Inc., which designed and sold computerized management, accounting and wholesale distribution systems.
Two years later, John H. "Jack" Warren joined him in the operation of the business, which then became a division of Computer Center Inc. on Monument Street.
In 1978, the partners purchased the division and moved the business to Charles and 25th streets.
"Joe was a very astute businessman and was fearless in going after new business accounts and pursuing new ways of doing things. We went from the mainframe technology of the 1970s to the desktops and personal computers of today," Mr. Warren said.
"These were all brave new avenues when we started," he said. "What Joe did was apply his knowledge of business to help others run their businesses."
Michael Weiss, a former business associate, applauded Mr. Hamilton's earnestness in helping others.
"When I decided to start my business, he gave me free office space and regular coaching sessions," said Mr. Weiss. "Joe had the great skill of helping others build self-confidence. He cared very deeply for those close to him and was a true expert in both business strategies and living life to the fullest."
At the time of his 2007 retirement, Mr. Hamilton was part-owner, president and CEO of the firm that has since moved to Hunt Valley.
For many years, Mr. Hamilton had been a board member of Fairfax Savings Bank and later, Susquehanna Bank, where he headed the audit committee until he stepped down several years ago.
Mr. Hamilton enjoyed sailing the Chesapeake Bay and was a member of the Downtown Sailing Club. He was also a world traveler.
He was an active member of Govans Presbyterian Church, 5828 York Road, where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. today.
Also surviving are four sons, Frank J. Hamilton of Baltimore, Cyril S. Hamilton of Williamsport, Mark J. Hamilton of Cornwall Bridge, Conn., and Timothy D. Hamilton of Laurel, Del.; three daughters, Jill H. Marquiss of Baltimore, Karen H. Bodine of Hagerstown and Meghan H. Thomas of Kuwait City, Kuwait; and four grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Joan Flock ended in divorce.