Sam Snead, Lawson Hamilton and My Grandfather George Aide by This Year’s Chairman

From Michael Aide,  the Chairman of this year’s Ponce, which returns to the Greenbrier…

Here is some Snead literature, which includes my granddad George.

PDL - The Senior Years

Also, an obituary below about their other good friend, Lawson Hamilton, gives you an idea of what a good run this crew had. It was really something else to watch them all in action.

Longtime Coal Magnate and Philanthropist Dies
The Register-Herald (West Virginia)
November 14, 2007

Lawson Hamilton, a longtime coal operator and civic leader known throughout West Virginia for his community spirit and philanthropy, died Wednesday.

Hamilton, a Lewisburg resident, died at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville from complications of lung cancer, the State Journal reported. He was 84.

“Lawson is one of those special people in West Virginia who will be truly missed,” John Snider, vice president of external affairs for Arch Coal Inc.’s eastern region, told the Charleston Daily Mail. “He’s a valued friend from over the years, not only in the coal industry but the state of West Virginia.”

Hamilton sold much of his holdings to Arch Mineral Corp. for $57 million in 1989, ending four decades as a West Virginia coal kingpin.

“I think Lawson would epitomize the height of any West Virginia coal leader that I’ve known or been associated with,” said Ben Greene, retired from the former state Mining and Reclamation Association.

“He was such a caring and giving individual,” Greene said. “He took extremely good care of his employees. He treated everyone alike.”

Hamilton was well known as a philanthropist. He loved the arts and was a longtime riverboat captain, responsible for buying and refurbishing the P.A. Denny.

He was the co-founder of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund and was active in the Presbytery of West Virginia and in his church, Old Stone Presbyterian in Lewisburg.

He helped fund a cancer unit at West Virginia University; a school, chapel and hospital wing in Berea, Ky.; the Charleston Light Opera Guild; the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta Festival; and many other projects and causes.

“He was an absolute giant among men in terms of his generosity and compassion for others,” said Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat and former coal broker who knew Hamilton for more than 30 years. “He did more for his fellow human beings throughout his lifetime than I think we’ll ever truly know.”

Hamilton also actively supported the Boy Scouts, 4-H programs, Duke University Children’s Hospital, Concord University, Greenbrier East High School and other Greenbrier Valley endeavors.

“Lawson Hamilton was a great philanthropist,” said Susan Adkins, executive director of Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg. “The generosity of he and his family has had a huge impact on the success of numerous organizations and individuals throughout the Greenbrier Valley and the state. He had a great love of the arts. The Hamilton family has been integral to the restoration and the continuation of Carnegie Hall. Lawson’s generosity will live perpetually through Carnegie Hall …”

“Lawson was truly a remarkable man,” said Kathy Sawyer, executive director of Greenbrier Valley Theatre. “He was kind and generous to the entire community, and I think his love of music and the arts was infectious and was only matched by the love he had for his family and friends. He brought so much joy to so many people.”

Greene noted Hamilton often donated anonymously. That giving included about $500,000 worth of gold leaf in 1990 to adorn the state Capitol dome. He revealed his largess later that decade to join calls for much-needed repairs.

Hamilton was a longtime friend of the late golf legend Sam Snead.

“He and Sam always had something to talk and laugh about. It was always positive,” said Robert Harris, director of sports at The Greenbrier. “He is going to be missed, not only on a personal level but on a community level.”

Hamilton was also a close friend of George Aide, a noted Greenbrier Valley retailer who died in July.

“Mr. Hamilton was one of a kind,” Aide’s son, Gary, said Wednesday. “They (Hamilton and George Aide) were friends for 30 years. They played with Sam Snead and liked to bet on their golf scores.”

Aide’s daughter, Townley, is married to Hamilton’s son, Tripp, and they have a young son, Lawson Hamilton IV.

“Tripp was totally dedicated to his father,” another Aide son, Richard, said. “He never left his side for a year.”

Bill Sweet of Lewisburg, a close friend for more than 25 years, had spoken to Hamilton two days ago. Sweet regularly played cards with Hamilton and could be seen as part of a foursome on The Greenbrier’s golf courses. Through the years, Sweet traveled with Hamilton on fishing trips and several football games.

“I have a lot of wonderful memories of the many good times I had with Lawson,” Sweet said late Wednesday. “I remember the many ramp dinners, fishing trips, ball games, golf outings, birthdays and bridge games we had together. He has been a true friend and will be missed greatly.”

Hamilton also proved a generous political donor, usually for Republican candidates and causes. He contributed more than $105,000 to federal and state campaigns in the last decade, including $25,000 for the inauguration of then-Gov. Cecil Underwood in 1997.

“He was larger than life in his generosity, kindheartedness, business success and in his general love of life,” Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said. “Words cannot express how lonely West Virginia will be without Lawson Hamilton.”

Hamilton was a graduate of Charleston High School and attended Morris Harvey College for two years before serving in the Army during World War II. After returning home, he got into the coal business with his father and later headed Ford Coal Co.

During his career, he was named West Virginia Coal Man of the Year. He was inducted into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame, named recipient of the Spirit of the Valley Award and named outstanding West Virginia Philanthropist of the Year, among many other awards.


– Michael Aide “New Diesel”