FPL Remembers Former Director Tom Hamilton

Former Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) Director Tom Hamilton passed away on December 23, 2014. He was 77.


Tom Hamilton, FPL Director from 1994-2001

Hamilton served as FPL’s director for seven years, from 1994-2001. Leading the Lab was his last assignment before retiring from a lofty, 37-year Forest Service career.

Hamilton earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His professional career started in 1964, serving as a marketing economist and research project leader in the Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station in Portland, Oregon. In 1972, he was reassigned to be an assistant director at the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. In 1976, Hamilton was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he first served as head of the nationwide forest inventory, followed by director of the Resources Program and Assessment Staff, and finally as associate deputy chief for Forest Service research. In 1994, he returned to Madison, Wisconsin, to serve as FPL Director.

“We extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to Tom’s family,” said current FPL and Northern Research Station Director Michael T. Rains.  “As a past Director of the Forest Products Laboratory and national leader, we were inspired by his elegant and passionate approach to conservation and unparallelled commitment to public service.  We miss him.”

Hamilton was a member of Society of American Foresters, Forest Products Society, National Active and Retired Federal Employees, and served on the Boards of Directors for the National Association of Forest Service Retirees as well as the National Museum of Forest Service History.

Hamilton was also an avid sportsman, and played competitively in the FPL golf league for many years following his retirement.

Our condolences go out to Tom’s family as we remember this strong and passionate leader. We are grateful for Tom’s dedication to the Forest Service and the Lab.