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John Tipps Hamilton

John Tipps Hamilton, 75, of Ft. Pierre, died on Thursday, January 3, 2008, at his winter home in Arizona.

A prayer service will be held Monday, January 21, at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Pierre with a memorial Mass to be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. CT on Tuesday, January 22, at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

Isburg Funeral Chapel of Pierre has been placed in care of the arrangements. Online condolences may be sent at ws.

John Tipps Hamilton entered eternal life on January 3, 2008.

Tipp was born to Philip (PC) and Hazel Hamilton in Texas on November 11, 1932. Around 1946, the Hamiltons relocated to South Dakota, purchasing the Feeney ranches 70 miles west of Ft. Pierre. Tipp graduated from T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre. He studied at the University of Nebraska and with younger brother Tim, followed the rodeo circuit riding bareback broncs and bulls before beginning his U.S. Army service. Later, Tipp and his first wife Marcelyn (Mort) took over his parents' ranch and raised their children, Robert, Rita and Rae Ellen, in the Robbs Flat community.

Ambitious, intelligent and always eager for a challenge, Tipp helped introduce the first pure-bred Limousine cattle to the state, and created the Cedar Breaks Beef processing plant. He was an astute commodities trader and served two terms as mayor of Ft. Pierre.

In his younger days, he and a state senator friend dressed in old-fashioned cowboy gear and rode horses into the capital rotunda - adding a bit of the wild-west to the bicentennial ball taking place. Though this antic may have earned him brief notoriety, Tipp was a compassionate man. For years, he volunteered his plane and skills as a pilot to fly neighbors in their rural community to doctors' treatments and other emergencies.

The early eighties brought the end of ranch-life for Tipp, or as he used to say "The three 'D's completely changed my life: Divorce, Drought and Debt." However, 1982 ended with great joy when he married Ruby Deis. Tipp and Ruby were incredibly well-matched. Entrepreneurial business partners, competitive golf enthusiasts, inseparable companions, they were unquestionably the loves of each others' lives. They quietly celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on December 29, 2007.

Tipp reinvented himself professionally by learning the property appraisal trade from his mentor, Clarence Mortenson. In addition to becoming one of the areas most sought-after appraisers for agricultural and commercial entities, he, Ruby, and stepson Cullan Deis developed his farm along the Missouri River into Dunes Golf Course. Tipp never retired.

Though Tipp was blessed with a comfortable life, he was humble enough to prioritize those things that maintain true value: loving family; worshipping God; laughing heartily during animated storytelling; savoring the beauty of prairie and desert. He was beloved by his seven children and adored by his 12 grand-children and one great grandchild. He was best known to the family as "Papa Tipp".

In his final months, Tipp suffered greatly due to extremely aggressive Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, but he never complained and remembered to end conversations with "I love you."

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Ruby Hamilton; his children, Robert Hamilton and son, Kellen Hamilton; Rita McQuistion and son, Ryan Peterson; Rae Ellen (Duane) Daily and daughters, Hannah and Hallie Daily; his step-children, Cullan (Diane) Deis and daughters, Daniall, Amanda, Christina Gaalswyk and Morgan Deis; Carmen (Dan) Carda and children, Ryan (Amber) Carda, along with their daughter, Rowan Carda, Tipps' first great grandchild, and Melissa Carda; Jayme Deis and sons, Ben and Alec Deis; and Tracy Deis; his brother, Tim (Susan) Hamilton; a sister, Jane Hamilton; an, uncle Robert Tipps and mother-in-law, Emma Waldman, along with numerous brothers and sisters in law, nieces, and nephews.