Sylvia Hamilton Memorial

Members of the San Martin community through the SMNA Memorial Committee have established a permanent memorial to Sylvia.   The form of the memorial is a picnic area at the Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park, just off San Martin Ave East.




Sylvia Hamilton, a San Martin resident and former teacher in Morgan Hill, had a long history of community service.  Despite tremendous adversity, she chose to dedicate her life to her community.  Sylvia was born May 25, 1942 in Del Ray Beach, Florida and later moved to Bowie, Texas after the death of her father while serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps.  She was a drum majorette at Bowie High School and later graduated from Texas Christian University.  She married and, along with her husband, adopted two children, Julie and Rich.  Tragedy struck years later when both of Sylvia’s children were killed in two separate automobile accidents.  She had taught math at Martin Murphy Middle School in Morgan Hill for many years but retired shortly after the death of her son.  She set up a scholarship fund at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill in the name of her two children.

For many years following the death of her children, Sylvia found strength in protecting the San Martin community.  Sylvia was an ardent advocate for protecting San Martin’s rural atmosphere, supporting positive controlled land use growth, promoting neighborhood identity and vitality and ensuring an influential voice with the local governing entities.

She provided a strong voice of reason and commitment to solving the local drinking water contamination problem in her role as chair of the Perchlorate Community Advisory Group.   Her leadership brought community residents, local officials, regulators and Olin Corporation, the responsible party, together to work for solutions. Thanks to Sylvia, residents received alternative water supplies, the perchlorate contamination was significantly reduced, and the cleanup is decades ahead of schedule.

Sylvia was a never-ending source of strength during SMNA’s more difficult times;  the SMNA Incorporation efforts, when a widow needed help moving, or an ailing individual with cancer needed companionship.   She was an avid country western dance fan and won the 2003 Country Dance World Championship.  In 2004, Bill Monning named Sylvia California’s 27th District “Woman of the Year” and in 2012 the SMNA awarded her “Member of the Year.”