|Birth: ||Jan. 17, 1921|
St. Louis City
|Death: ||Nov. 16, 2004|
Bob Hampton was the son of Roy "Leonard" Hampton and Martha Matilda Brehm Hamacher. Step-son of Charles "Lowell" Hamacher. Husband of Ruth E Benya and father of Sylvia Rapennecker (Chuck VonCannon), Kathleen (Bob Betancur), Leonard (Connie), and Linda (Scott Braddy). Daughter Mary from his first marriage ending in divorce.
Bob was tough but sensitive man. He grew up in the depression and had to suffer many hardships and seperations from his parents who, like so many victims of the depression, were not often able to care for their children: Bob and his younger sister, Pearle Orland. So Bob saw it as his duty to help raise his sister, while getting moved from one relative's home to another, from Michigan to Texas, and in and out of the State orphanage.
They stayed with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and orphans; and Bob learned manners, a strong moral code, love of family and respect of authority, and was a perfect gentleman all his life. Sometimes he learned from good examples, and sometimes from bad examples, but he was always learning. Not all the lessons were easy ones; many of his experiences were harsh, but they helped to shape who he was and his firm adherence to what he believed in.
As a child, Bob was interested and learned to operate and repair machinery of various sorts. He milked cows to feed the other children, worked in the fields hoeing, picked cotton, and harvested watermellon in the sweltering heat. It was back-breaking work and it was always very HOT! Often with nothing to eat except for all the watermellon you could stuff in you. Luckily he liked watermellon.
For a time, his dad and uncle brought home buckets of bullets from his uncle's carnival shooting-gallery. Bob practiced marksmanship with his cousin until he was an expert, able to hunt skillfully for the family's meals. he hunted squirels and rabbits.
Bob's father Roy "Leonard" Hampton died young in 1933 at the age of 33. His father wasn't around much do to his odd jobs in the carnival and others that he dreamed up with his cousin. Most of them hair-raising things nobody else would do. Most always taking him away from home. He was a free spirit and wanderer. (see Roy "Leonard" Hampton) Bob was just 12 when he had already experienced his parents divorce and now his fathers death. Aware that he would have to fend for himself, Bob learned carpentry at the State Home, so he could be sure of having a marketable skill. He was good with complex math concepts, and very mechanically inclined. He had an eager mind that was like a sponge for all these skills and knowledge. He knew he must learn when he has the oppertunity.
After graduation from school at the orphanage, Bob joined the Navy as had his father before him. It was right after Pearl Harbor. He became an aircraft mechanic and worked on most of the Navy's different types of planes. Most of the time he was stationed in Florida, training mechanics and young pilots. Later he was a member of the crew of the USS Siboney an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. His father had also served onboard ship in the Pacific, on the USS Saratoga. And following them, his son-in-law Scott Braddy served as a Marine on the USS Tarawa. Hampton became a 3rd class Petty Officer, and was a good one, dedicated to serving his country, and he saw some terrible things that he couldn't ever share with anyone.
During his time in Florida he married Lucille Freestone and had a little girl Mary but the marriage lasted only a few years. He never saw his little girl again, which haunted him for the rest of his life!
After his tour in the Navy, Bob worked for Slick Airways in California. On his days off, he would roam into the mountains east of Los Angeles. There he met another gal, named Ruth Benya, working as a waitress in a cafe. They chatted about the song of the mocking bird, and struck up an instant friendship. Ruth had a good wholesome country farming background, and they married in 1952 and stayed together all the rest of his life, making it a good 53 year marriage. They had a fine family reunion and celebration for their 50th. She made him very happy as a fine wife, cook and mother of their four fine children: Sylvia, Kathleen, Leonard and Linda. He was strict and passionately caring with them, to shape them to the personal moral code he lived by, himself.
Bob left Slick Airways in December of 1957 and moved his family to Denver. His youngest was only 3 months old. As he drove out to look for work one day, it occured to him to take his tool box with him - just in case. That day, he applied for work at Honeywell. When they asked him, "If we hired you, when would you be able to start", he replied, "right now - my tools are in the trunk of the car." He always felt sure that it was because he had his tools with him that he got that job.
Bob and Ruth purchased a 5 acre lot on a barren hilltop southeast of Parker, Colorado, a little town that didn't even show up on the map. They named their little plot of land "Mockingbird Hill". It was 30 miles from Bob's job at Honeywell, but it was theirs. The neighbors were of his type and liking: pleasant, courteous, and respectful, hard-working folk; mostly ranchers and dairy farmers.
Since Bob couldn't afford to have a home built for him, he did it by himself, using all he knew about carpentry, design and fabrication. To ensure accuracy in laying out the foundation, as well as to make the house line up with the roads he imagined would one day be properly laid out, he aligned the east wall of his home with the north star. He installed the cinder block foundation, block by block, by hand. His work was precise and particular, and the materials he used were above code in every way. His family moved into the basement as soon as it was complete enough, and he worked on building the upper story every week end and every week day, after working an 8 hour shift as a machinist at Honeywell. The family continued to live in the basement until the upstairs was finished. This was hard but it was his; built and designed by his mind and hands. It was a sturdy, fuctional, and pretty home on 5 acres. A lot to be proud of. They bought a live blue spruce seedling tree for their first Christmas in the new house, and planted it in the "L" of the house, where it was protected from the prairie wind.
A few years later, when Bob had the chance to get some seedling trees from the National Arbor Foundation, he eagerly accepted. He surveyed the property around his home, using a rifle sight and carpenter's level, laid across a 50 gallon drum with water in, to level it by. Sylvia served as surveyor's helper, holding a broom handle marked with rings of electrical tape every 2 inches. In this way he was able to plot parallel irrigation channels, along which he planted the seedlings, allowing him to water about 150 trees with just one 50 foot garden hose, which was all he had. The result was a beautiful windbreak, planted in a manner so harmonious to the surroundings that people often stopped to ask who his landscape architect had been, saying they'd like to use the same professional for their own home.
Bob Hampton was a fine provider for his family and taught them about building things, growing things, playing hard and working hard. They kept chickens and rabbits for the table, and raised vegetables. When out in the open space of the large prairie-type yard he showed his children the wonders of wildlife right under their noses. Flowers, cactuses, insects, trees, different rocks and plants, naming them all. Also different animals were abundant in their own private Eden: deer, fox, mice, porcupines, rabbits, coyotes, snakes, lizards, frogs etc. Bob tried to instill his love of nature in his children, teaching them the names and characteristics of wildlife, flowers and soils. All the birds and animals were known by their names and he taught the children to respect the animal's right to live, unless it was for food.
Bob was one of the founding fathers, an active church member, and decon of the Hilltop Community Church of Parker while his children grew up. He was a good role model. He loved music, and whistled and sang hundreds of songs he knew by heart, as he worked in his gardens and his workshop. He involved each of his children in music as well, played the French horn, and sang in the church choir.
When Bob saw an article about solar power in Science News Magazine, he designed and built a solar oven to melt the wax from the frames of his honey bee hives, and built his own passive solar sun-space to help heat their home. Inspired by another article, he even made his own telescope, grinding the lenses by hand, and carefully calibrating it, so he could watch the stars, moon and planets. He studied intently to learn to operate a computer which at times he would need help with an eagerly accept help from his grandson Jason who would show him what to do. He loved sharing time and activities with his children and grandchildren and even g-grandchildren.
Bob was of average height and weight, with a barrel chest and slender hips. He was strong and healthy, but plagued for many years by terrible, debilitating migrain and cluster headaches. In his early 60's, he was also diagnosed with heart problems. His doctors told him that he needed 6-way bypass surgery immediately, or he would die within weeks. After some thought, Bob decided he'd rather not have the surgery, and asked what he might have done differently to have lived longer. The doctors' reply was that "it isn't possible for anyone to do it" but that his heart problems might have been avoided by a change of diet. According to his doctors, it would have required eating "no fats, and no oils" and that "nobody" had the self discipline to do that.
Bob saw that as a challenge, since he had never lacked in the self discipline required to accomplish difficult goals. He and Ruth determined to take up that challenge, and eat "fat free" for whatever time he had left. To that end, Ruth began inventing a fat-free diet before any company was offering any fat-free commercially prepared foods, and before any books were written with fat-free recipies. Bob said he didn't always like the flavor of fat-free food as much as he'd enjoyed his previous diet, but he was determined to take good care of himself; if Ruth cooked it, he would eat it. The result was that he lived another 20 years, with a strong healthy heart that doctors described as "youthful". The terrible headaches were finally controlled to some degree by the diet change, which included no cheese - a common dietary cause of migraines.
Bob retired from Honeywell after 30 years, and he and Ruth traveled the country exploring fun places and viewing wildlife, as well as going back to his roots, the places he grew up at, in order to research the family tree.
One of Bobs favorite hobbies which was extremly important to him was genealogy. He complied several thick volumes of family histories. He drew up family tree charts and made copies and distributed the volumes and charts to family.
He also enjoyed looking at the stars and planets and actully made his own telescope to watch them. If you asked him about a certain star he could probably tell you about it and then he'd point out several other key stars and plantes in the night sky. He knew all the mountain peaks in Colorado and traveled to many of them. Bob Hampton was an amazing man, who lived life fully. He was the base and root of his family tree, and will be dearly missed, but not pitied; because he did it all. He lived a good, long life. He went out a lion, king of his domain, surrounded by family at the hospital. The medical cause was a hemorrage in an inoperable aortic aneurism, that had been developing for a few years. He encouraged his children to be good to each other, continue as a family, and grow their own (family) trees according to their own moral codes.
Roy Leonard Hampton (1894 - 1933)
Martha Matilda Brehm Hamacher (1901 - 1948)
Fort Logan National Cemetery
Created by: Scott Braddy
Record added: May 03, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26575140