Hamilton Cartwright (1943-2008)

By Harold Maddux

Ham, (as most everyone called him) was a sixty-four-year-old retired building contractor. I only knew him about three years. I got to know him well on our many Mississippi Katrina relief trips and found him to be a truly remarkable man. A man of few words, endless skills, abilities, and more knowledge about almost anything you wanted to talk about than anyone I have ever known. His heart was as big as the ocean, a deep conviction of love for God and his family. Ham was a giver, giving freely of himself, his time and finances to help those in need, never taking anything in return. He was very mission-minded and went on many mission trips to many different places. He did so much that space will not allow us to print. He was very quiet, never sought attention or recognition, so therefore, many never got to know him or who he was. He was surely a man of God. He will be missed by so many in so many ways.

His favorite place to eat was the Cracker Barrel. We never went to Mississippi without stopping there, going and coming. He always had a toothpick in his mouth. One of his favorite meats was fish, and boy, could he put-’em away. He was an encourager, always encouraging me to do things I knew nothing about and telling me not to worry about the mistakes I made because he could correct them, which he had to do so many times. A statement I’ll always remember him saying was, “I’ll take care of you Dude,” which he did. Any time we had a problem of any kind, we would always look to Ham for advice. Anytime you talked about building a house or doing repair work on one, he would light up like a candle. I remember when we went to Mississippi to help build the Pearlington church building, it was to be built of logs; Ham said he had never built a log building before but had always wanted to. The morning he and Paul Gentry (owner of Old Timer Log Homes) was going over the blueprints, he was like a child on Christmas morning. He was bubbling all over, in his domain. I asked him if he was going fishing that day because that’s the way I get when I go fishing. He just laughed and said, “I guess so”. He worked on airplanes in the service and had a great passion for them and flying. He and his partner had built two. He took great pains and pride in his work; very particular, everything had to be just right. He was a very good pilot. He and I went up about two months ago. I told him since I didn’t know anything about flying if he got me up and down safe, I would assume he knew what he was doing. I don’t know at this time what happened on the morning of April 7th. I do know my heart was torn out when I heard the news. My life was enriched by knowing Ham. I will truly miss him. He was my buddy, a pal, and a great friend.