November 4, 2021—San Dimas, CALIF—Dr. Jack E. Hamilton (’65), who served as the fifth president of L.I.F.E. (now called Life Pacific University) from 1982-1992 passed away on November 2, 2021. Known as the “Courageous President” Dr. Hamilton is best remembered for his visionary leadership and overseeing the move of the college in 1990 from its founding location at Angelus Temple near Echo Park in Los Angeles to the current campus site in San Dimas, California.
Beginning his ministry training by taking correspondence courses while serving in the Army at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, Jack enrolled for residential study at the college in 1961 after his discharge from military service. Besides studying for a bachelor’s degree in Theology, Jack was also a premiere student athlete at L.I.F.E. Bible College earning four letters each for baseball and basketball. Jack also played intermural football and was president of the Letterman’s Club. It was also during his time at L.I.F.E. that Jack met Carole Chambers while singing in the Angelus Temple Choir. After a year of building a relationship with her, Jack proposed to Carole on Valentine’s Day and they were married in the summer of 1963.
Following his graduation in 1965, the Hamiltons ministered and pastored in Canada and then returned to the States in 1970 when Jack became pastor of a thriving congregation in Central California. While serving in ministry, Jack maintained his relationship with the college staying actively involved throughout the years becoming president of the L.I.F.E. Alumni Association.
Appointed president of L.I.F.E. Bible College in 1982, Jack saw the need for growth and expansion and boldly envisioned a new location for the college. In spite of hesitancy from alumni, the Board, and the denomination, Jack garnered financial backing from several donors including a multi-million dollar contribution and moved the college to San Dimas. In 1985 the Foursquare board of directors bestowed an honorary Doctor of Divinity upon him. Even with his many duties at L.I.F.E., Jack went on to earn a master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University two years later.
President Emeritus, Dr. Jim J. Adams writes, “Dr. Hamilton, an amazing person and someone I call friend, followed the leading of the Lord even when it wasn’t popular so that the dearly loved L.I.F.E. Bible College could grow into what it is today.” Years later, after his tenure as president, The Foursquare Church granted additional property in San Dimas to the college in recognition of Jack Hamilton’s vision, tenacity, and courage. In 2015, LPU honored Dr. Jack Hamilton with the Lifetime of Service Award.
Pointing to Jack’s exemplary life as an illustration of the type of fruitful service and inspirational leadership that every student can aspire to, current LPU president Angie Richey says he is remembered “as an exceptional leader and role model. He served with vision, competence, and commitment, prioritizing the word of God and the spiritual formation of students. He leaves a rich legacy, and we will dearly miss him.”
Following his time at L.I.F.E., Jack and his wife Carole returned to full-time ministry holding various Foursquare pastoral and leadership positions including time as Divisional Superintendent and District Supervisor. Faithfully serving for more than fifty years, Dr. Hamilton greatly impacted many lives through his years of ministry. Foursquare President Randy Remington (’91, ’16) says, “Jack Hamilton was a loyal servant of God and an inspiration to all who knew him. His generous investment in my life personally as a student at LIFE Bible College was one of intentional mentorship and personal sponsorship.”
Jack and Carole have three children: eldest son Jeff who graduated from L.I.F.E. 25 years after his father and is lead pastor of Hills Church in Laguna Hills, CA; son Brad, who also attended L.I.F.E.; and daughter J.J. Vercellono, who along with her husband, Tim, serve as pastors of Real Life Church in Laconia, NH.
Angie Richey adds: “We send our condolences to his wife Carole, the entire Hamilton family, and our extended Life Pacific University community. While we grieve, we do not mourn as those without hope, for we know he is in the full presence of our God in whom he firmly believed.”
In addition to his wife Carole of 58 years and three children, Jack is survived by 10 grandchildren.
An east coast memorial service will be held for Dr. Jack Hamilton on Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 2:00 pm (EST) at Real Life Church in Laconia, NH. The main memorial service will be held on the San Dimas campus of Life Pacific University, 1100 West Covina Boulevard, San Dimas, CA 91773 on Monday, November 15, 2021 at 11:00 am (PDT).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dr. Jack Hamilton Scholarship Fund at Life Pacific University. To give towards the scholarship fund online, please visit https://tinyurl.com/building4ward or your donation check may be made payable to Life Pacific University and mailed to Life Pacific University, Advancement and Alumni Relations, 1100 W Covina Blvd San Dimas, CA 91773-3298.
Life Pacific University, with locations in San Dimas, California and Christiansburg, Virginia, is an institution of biblical higher education existing for the transformational development of students into leaders prepared to serve God in the Church, the workplace, and the world. LPU is WSCUC and ABHE accredited and is a member of the NAIA and GSAC. Learn more at http://lifepacific.edu.