BLOOMINGTON — An accident in Monroe County has claimed the wife of former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton.
Nancy Hamilton, 82, was killed Saturday while taking her dog to a Bloomington veterinarian, family members said. Hamilton got out of her car outside East Third Street, but the car was set in reverse, instead of park, police said. As Hamilton walked behind her vehicle to retrieve her pet, the car rolled over her.
Hamilton was transported to IU Health Bloomington Hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly before 8 p.m. Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer said the cause of death was trauma to the head and chest.
Barbara Garton, the wife of former Indiana Sen. Robert Garton, became friends with Lee and Nancy Hamilton during the 10 years the Hamiltons lived in Columbus. Hamilton was a housewife and active in the arts community.
“Nancy was very artistically talented,” Garton said. “She would paint pictures of her children, and send them off as Christmas cards. She was just a sweet and caring person.”
While born in Alhambra, Calif., the former Nancy Ann Nelson grew up in Riverside, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, according to The Republic archives. She went to DePauw University, where she met her future husband.
The couple were married during Lee Hamilton’s first year at the Indiana University School of Law. They lived in Martinsville before moving to Chicago, where Lee Hamilton practiced law.
In December 1957, Lee Hamilton accepted a position with the
Sharpnack-Bigley law firm in Columbus. The Hamiltons lived in an apartment before purchasing a home near 23rd and Sycamore streets.
Two of their three children, Deborah Hamilton Kremer and Douglas Nelson Hamilton, were born while the Hamiltons lived in Bartholomew County. Their oldest daughter, Tracy Hamilton Souza, was four months old when the family moved to Columbus and still lives here.
While living in Bartholomew County, Nancy Hamilton also was active in the Partners In Education program, Garton said.
From 1965 to 1999, Lee Hamilton served Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives. After his tenure in Congress, Hamilton served as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission and co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group.
“Lee’s prominence was never a problem for Nancy,” Garton said. “When they moved from Columbus to a Washington suburb in Virginia, she was busy being a mother, a housewife and keeping active with her artistic groups. Everyone who knew Nancy knew she was a quiet, caring, wonderful person.”
The couple moved from the Washington area to Bloomington after Lee Hamilton, now 81, was named director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University two years ago.
Besides their three children, the Hamiltons have five grandchildren: Christina, Maria, McLouis, and Patricia Souza are the children of Matt and Tracy Souza. Lina Ying Kremer is the daughter of Deborah Hamilton Kremer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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