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Staunton community mourns the loss of mentor, teacher, coach, Alphonso Hamilton

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 6:09 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — When asked to describe Alphonso Hamilton, many in the Staunton community said he was a father to everyone.

“People just flocked to him, all over,” said Staunton City School Board Chair Kenneth Venable. “He was always ready, he never says no.”

Alphonso Hamilton first came to Staunton more than 50 years ago. He started out as a teacher and coach at the former Booker T. Washington High School.

Venable said he was a great coach and teacher, but to Mr. Hamilton, education always came first.

“It was very point-blank with him. You didn’t get the grades, you don’t play,” Venable explained.

Hamilton also directed a youth choir called the Al Hamilton Community Choir.

“The choir gave everybody a chance to stand out. Anybody that wanted to sing a solo, they were able to sing a solo,” said Paige Kier, a former member of the Al Hamilton Community Choir.

“You’ll find nobody that was as dedicated as he was. It’s hard to find a pianist, a director, because he wore all those hats,” said Rebecca “Cookie” Johnson, another member of the choir.

Kier said Hamilton was someone who saw everyone.

“He was a man that was in the community. Not only did he coach basketball and teach, vice-principal and choir director, he worked at the polls when there were elections,” Kier explained.

Paul Vames met Hamilton through the Staunton education system, when they both led schools in the area.

“He was a good mentor for all of us, not that I’m that much younger than he, but I learned a lot from Mr. Hamilton. I think a lot of us did," Vames explained.

Alphonso Hamilton first came to Staunton more than 50 years ago. He started out as a teacher...
Alphonso Hamilton first came to Staunton more than 50 years ago. He started out as a teacher and coach at the former Booker T. Washington High School.(Credit WHSV and Rebecca Johnson)

Hamilton leaves behind not only his wife and children, but a community that will forever be touched by his guidance.

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