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John R. Hamlett, a distinguished longtime figure in Town of Evans politics, died Friday (Nov. 20, 1998) at his Derby home. He was 61.

Hamlett lived in Derby for 40 years and was active in town government for nearly as long.

He began his political career in the 1960s, serving as chairman of the Evans Planning Board. During his 18 months at the helm, he helped devise a new zoning ordinance, which was hailed as one of the most progressive in the state.

At age 29, Hamlett was elected Evans town justice; in 1967, he was elected town supervisor.

He also had been town attorney and chairman of the Town Republican Committee at various times throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Friends and town officials recalled him as a consummate lawyer.

"He was a champion of government in Evans and the expert in municipal law," said Anne Sellers, a current town Planning Board member and former Town Board member. "He was a person the town clerk would call for expert opinion, and he could always cite the case law by heart for government."

Ms. Sellers also described him as a gentleman farmer who was generous to his friends.

"He had this wonderful side to him," she said Saturday. "He raised turkeys, and this would be the weekend that John would be butchering his turkeys to give to his friends."

A 1955 graduate of the Nichols School, he graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and the University of Buffalo School of Law in 1962. He was a retired partner of Falk & Siemer law firm in Buffalo.

Hamlett was a member of the Buffalo Club, a past member of the Turtle Fish and Game Club and was one of a dozen young men who founded the Derby Tennis Club in 1963.

His leadership skills were honed early in his life. At age 13, he was the youngest Eagle Scout in Buffalo before founding and becoming scoutmaster of the Boy Scout troop at Church of the Holy Communion in Lake View.

Hamlett loved fishing and gardening and also raised chickens.

He is survived by his wife, Gail; three sons, John R. Jr. of Kenmore, Samuel L. and Nathaniel P.; a daughter, Susan Kirby of Norwell, Mass.; and two grandchil-dren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Trinity Episcopal Church, 261 E. Main St., Hamburg.[hakes]

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