Sam D. Hamilton, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, died Saturday after suffering from chest pains while skiing in Colorado. He was 54.
Coast extends its sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Hamilton and wishes to express gratitude for the hard work and dedication he displayed during his years of service.
Recently appointed to Fish and Wildlife Director in September 2009, Hamilton served over 30 years with the organization, starting when he was just 15 years of age.
Born in Mississippi, Hamilton worked on the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge banding wood ducks and Canada geese, building waterfowl pens, and learning the importance of managing wildlife habitat. In 1977, he graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in biology.
Before his appointment as Director, Hamilton served as Assistant Regional Director of Ecological Services in Atlanta and as the Texas State Administrator in Austin. He also served as Regional Director of the Southeast Region in Atlanta, Georgia. As head of the Southeast Region, made up of ten states and Caribbean, he provided oversight and management of a $484 million budget and a 1,500-person work-force dedicated to protecting more than 350 federally listed threatened and endangered species and operating 128 national wildlife refuges.
Hamilton is survived by his wife, two sons, and a grandson.
[photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]