Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - December 31, 2010

Journalist Mildred Hamilton of Palo Alto dies

Newspaperwoman Mildred Hamilton of Palo Alto died Dec. 24 at Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City following a long period of declining health. She was 88.

For three decades Hamilton was the star feature writer for the San Francisco Examiner.

Her newspaper career started in her native Oklahoma where in her grammar school in Oklahoma City she was editor of the Washington School News. She also was editor of the Roosevelt Junior High School Rough Rider, the Central High School Sooner Spirit and the University of Oklahoma Daily.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate, she spent her professional life as a reporter, working for the Baton Rouge, La., Morning Advocate and News; the Oklahoma City Associated Press Bureau; the Vallejo, Calif., Times-Herald, and the Hearst San Francisco Examiner, where she became the paper's top feature writer. She retired in 1988.

In 1955 she was awarded a Reid Foundation Fellowship, operated by the now defunct New York Herald, and spent a year of travel and study in Europe. This stimulated a wanderlust that eventually took her to most parts of the world.

Always a feminist, she took pride in "liberating" the press box at the University of Oklahoma football stadium during World War II when she claimed the seat assigned to the college daily editor. She later covered national and international conferences on women's rights.

On her retirement from the Examiner, she earned a Master of Arts degree in history at San Francisco State University in 1996. Her master's thesis — a detailed recounting of the life of Phoebe Apperson Hearst, the mother of William Randolph Hearst and a philanthropist, feminist and suffragist in her own right — is about to be published in a book by the University of Nebraska Press. Hamilton also did research for the Hearst Foundation.

Describing herself as a "newspaperman junkie," she married three of them: the late John H. Schroeder; the late Francis "Spud" Hamilton; and, in 2001, Harry Press, a longtime San Francisco journalist and retired managing director at the Knight Fellowships program at Stanford University.

In addition to Press, she is survived by a sister, Alice McGhee, four stepchildren, and two nieces.

After private services and cremation, inurnment will be in the family plot in Oklahoma City.

The family suggests donations to the national "Journalism & Women Symposium" organization: www.jaws.org.

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