Leroy L. Hamilton was born in Fresno, California, to John Leslie Hamilton, a transformer repair technician for an electric utility, and Opal Bartles Hamilton, a nurse, in 1934. He was the middle child in a family of three boys.
He attended John Burroughs (K-3) and Easterby (4-8) elementary schools in Fresno, and graduated from Clovis Union High School near Fresno in 1952, third in a class of 125. He was Vice President of his senior class.
He attended the University of California at Berkeley from Sept. 1952 to January, 1954. He volunteered for the draft and was inducted into the U.S. Army in February, 1954. After basic training at Ft. Ord, he received advanced training at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts. His overseas assignments were in Kyoto, Japan and near Taipei, Taiwan. He was honorably discharged as a private first class in December, 1955.
He then attended Fresno State College for one semester. After his marriage to Mary O'Neill of Fresno in June, 1956, he re-enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley to resume his education in Electrical Engineering. He graduated with a BSEE in June, 1958, after being elected to Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu, two engineering honor societies.
He was employed by the Department of Defense at Ft. Meade, Maryland from June, 1958 to October, 1963. He earned his Master of Electrical Engineering degree from Catholic University of America in 1960. His thesis was titled "The Rate Effect in Four-Layer Diodes."
In November, 1963, he moved his family (wife Mary and three children) to Cleveland to enroll in a new program in biomedical engineering at Case Institute of Technology. To support the family he accepted employment as Chief Engineer of the Metabolic Ward at Highland View Hospital east of Cleveland. A fourth child was added to the family in 1965.
He earned his Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in December, 1967. His dissertation is titled "Study of the Cardiovascular Dynamics During Passive Tilting in Relation to a Servo Controlled Tiltboard."
From September, 1968 to May, 1974, he was an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In addition, we was appointed Professorial Lecturer in Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1970.
Further experience included the following:
May 1974 - Dec 1976 - Electrical Engineer, Bureau of Medical Devices, Food and Drug Administration where he served as Executive Secretary to the Radiological Devices Classification Panel.
Dec 1976 - Aug 1983 - Director of Medical Engineering and Electronics, Health Industry Manufacturers Association, Washington, DC
Mar 1983 - Dec 2009 - President, Hamilton Programs (a computer consulting firm)
After his marriage to Mary O'Neill ended in divorce, he married Evelyn Stearns Soler.
He worked closely with Maynard Hill to achieve Maynard's dream of flying a model airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. TAM-5 "The Spirit of Butts' Farm" flew from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, Canada to Mannin Beach, Ireland (August 9-11, 2003) to set two world records: Distance 1883 miles, Duration 38 hours, 42 minutes. Records granted by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).
For a video about the project, click here.