Popular resident to spend 95th birthday with neighbors

Popular resident to spend 95th birthday with neighbors

Popular resident to spend 95th birthday with neighbors

Longtime Madison Park resident and former dentistry professor Ian Hamilton will celebrate his 95th birthday this month. Hamilton — who still lives independently and enjoys working in his garden — looks back fondly on his life and dental career.

Following footsteps
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1915 to a father who was a dentist, Hamilton said he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a dentist as well. He attended school in Toronto but moved back to Winnipeg after completing his studies.

At that time, a dental practice was for sale in the same building as his father’s practice, and Hamilton’s uncle bought it for him so he could work near his father. After several years in that practice, Hamilton moved to a new practice to work with one of the best dentists in Winnipeg, he said.

In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. The following Monday, Hamilton joined the army as part of the Canadian Dental Corps, working in Winnipeg for a while before being shipped to the South of England.

When he found out he was being sent abroad, Hamilton decided to marry the pharmacist he had met at a drugstore in the medical building where he worked his second dental job. They married in 1941, shortly before he was shipped overseas. They spent much of their first years of their marriage apart, which wasn’t easy, Hamilton said.

After spending several years in the South of England, Hamilton was sent into Normandy and moved through much of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. In February 1945, the Dental Corps began heading into Germany.

“I got about 100 yards into Germany and got jaundice. I was evacuated to England, and by the time I recovered, the war was over,” Hamilton said.

Coming home
When Hamilton was younger, he used to drive a physician to and from work, and on one of those drives, the physician told him that the two best places in the entire world to live in were the South of England and around the Puget Sound. Having already spent time in the South of England, a place Hamilton enjoyed very much, he and his wife moved to the Puget Sound region, and he set up a dental practice near Victoria, B.C.

In 1949, Hamilton received an invitation to teach dentistry at the University of Washington, bringing him to Seattle, where he would live from them on, with a few shorter stints in London as well. At the UW, he taught in the department of operative dentistry, the branch that deals with fillings and cavities, which Hamilton said is the biggest part of a dental practice.

Hamilton enjoyed his time teaching; it was one of the best dental schools in the world at the time, he said, and he enjoyed his interactions with his students.

Hamilton has spent most of his time in Seattle in the Madison Park neighborhood. He remembers the first apartment in the area in which he and his wife lived, on 43rd Avenue East.

“We were very fortunate to settle [in this area] in the beginning,” he said. He liked that he could take the bus to work and was glad to exchange the Winnipeg weather for the much milder Seattle climate.

There is a saying about the climate in Winnipeg, Hamilton said: “Nine months of snow and three months of poor skiing.” He added that he certainly doesn’t mind not seeing much snow here.

A second family
Living in Madison Park has had its perks for Hamilton. Nearly 17 years ago, he was outside photographing some of his flowers when a calico cat wandered up to him. Hamilton, who loves cats, began petting it when his neighbor, Jacques ­­Boiroux, walked up.

The cat, named ­­­­­Deco, belonged to Boiroux, but he said that from then on, the cat belonged to both households. A retired French chef, Boiroux and his wife, Nicole, have Hamilton over for dinner every night.

“It has become a routine now,” Boiroux said.

He added that Hamilton is not a picky guest and that he has never found a food Hamilton doesn’t enjoy.

Boiroux has been away from his home in France since he was 17, and he enjoys spending time with Hamilton because he said it is like having a second set of parents.

“I’ve been lucky in my life. And at some point, you give back to someone,” Boiroux said of hosting Hamilton.

“I am lucky that someone like that looks after me,” Hamilton said of Boiroux.
Hamilton does his share of helping out the couple, as well, caring for their cat and home when they are away for a weekend.

Boiroux described Hamilton as someone who is “absolutely kind” and would never gossip or say anything about anybody else, something Boiroux wants to emulate himself.

Hamilton is a private and independent person, Boiroux said, but he is very warm.

Celebrating life
After spending time teaching at the University of Washington, Hamilton eventually went to London for five years to study at the University of London for a doctorate degree in anatomy. The Queen of England personally handed the certificate to him when he received his degree.

Hamilton still enjoys reading, reading a book every week, Boiroux said. Hamilton also enjoys spending time outdoors and in his garden.

Despite the wisdom that comes with years, Hamilton said he doesn’t have any advice for people starting out on their life journey because it is such an individual proposition.

The Boirouxs have planned a bash for Hamilton, whose birthday is Aug. 16. The celebration will take place the week before his birthday, when friends and neighbors will enjoy lunch and tunes in Keyport, Wash.[[In-content Ad]]