The Montgomery County legal community, and his family and many friends, suffered a great loss last week with the passing of Judge Barry A. Hamilton. Judge Hamilton was a judge on Maryland’s District Court since 1996, and perhaps more importantly showed all of us who were his friends and colleagues how to serve the public through the law and live a full personal life as well.
Barry Hamilton was born in Hagerstown, Md., and attended the McDonogh School and Columbia University. He served his country for three years in the U.S. Army, and then attended the Columbia University School of Law. He became a member of the Maryland Bar in 1975. He had the privilege, as I did along with a select few others, of serving as law clerk to Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Phillip M. Fairbanks.
Barry entered the Montgomery County State’s Attorneys Office in 1976, where he served as a prosecutor for twenty years. He was a consummate prosecutor, securing convictions in many important criminal cases to protect the public.
Judge Hamilton was appointed as a District Court Judge for Montgomery County in 1996, and served with great distinction as a judge until his recent retirement. Judge Hamilton also served the public in such capacities as a member of the Commission for Women in Montgomery County, the Family Violence Council for ten years, and on the Task Force to Combat Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol. Barry was also a real renaissance man who was a great musician and loved the theatre, working with his wife Diane Hamilton on student productions at Adventure Theatre MTC Academy for Dance in Montgomery County. Members of the Montgomery County Bar Association also knew Barry as the musical director for many years of the Bar Revue variety show.
It is a terrible loss to Barry’s family and friends not to get to see the music and life he would have enjoyed in retirement. At his judicial investiture, Barry wanted music and one of his many friends sang the words from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Carousel, which so summed up his life: “Walk on, walk on with hope in your hearts, And you’ll never walk alone, You’ll never walk alone.”
Thomas Patrick Ryan is a partner in the Rockville law firm of McCarthy Wilson, which specializes in civil litigation.