Tallapoosa County Republican Party chairman Lee Hamilton, left, and Ed Oliver became good friends while both were running for office two years ago. Hamilton died Thursday after a month-long medical battle.

Tallapoosa County Republicans and even Democrats were saddened by the Thursday death of Tallapoosa County Republican Party chairman Lee Hamilton.

Alabama state Rep. Ed Oliver (R-81) of Dadeville and Hamilton got to know each other on the campaign trail two years ago.

“He and I are from the same large circle of friends in Montgomery,” Oliver said. “He had a lot of friends around the lake and moved here several years ago. I got to know Lee while he was running for office at the same time I was running for the state house.”

It was on the campaign trail Oliver said he became good friends with Hamilton, 51, and learned Hamilton just wanted to help people.

“He was one of the funniest people you will ever meet,” Oliver said. “He was an extremely happy person. He was always looking for a way to make a difference. He had a servant’s heart and always wanted to help.”

Political opponents recognized Hamilton’s kindness. Tal East faced Hamilton in the Republican primary for Tallapoosa County Probate Judge but said Hamilton was not a bitter opponent even when East won the race. As an attorney, Hamilton helped East with legal work in the probate judge’s office.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my Republican primary opponent, Tallapoosa County Republican Party chair, colleague and friend Lee Hamilton,” East said. “Lee was gracious in defeat and offered to help me in any way that he could. He was very kind to my employees and was always professional in the work that he did for my office.”

Oliver said Hamilton was easy to get along with so much so Hamilton even befriended those across the aisle politically. Tallapoosa County Democrat Party chair Jeremy Jeffcoat saw Hamilton as a friend.

“I just got to know Lee Hamilton in the last couple of years,” Jeffcoat said. “I was very glad to get to know him — a true gentleman. I will miss seeing him and talking to him.”

Hamilton’s absence also means the Tallapoosa County Republican Party will mourn his loss.

“We became close friends during the last election cycle,” said Tyler Gardner of the Tallapoosa County Republican Party steering and executive committees. “His family became my family and my family became his family. He was always a good friend and we had a great professional relationship.

“He was a great asset to not only the Tallapoosa County Republican Party but to this county as a whole. Although he lived in StillWaters, he was affiliated with community-based organizations all over Tallapoosa County.”

Hamilton was a member of the Alexander City Rotary Club and the Elks Lodge.

Hamilton’s death means Terry Martin will be the chair of the Tallapoosa County Republican Party and will take over Hamilton’s duties immediately. The county Republican chair is responsible for reporting the results of the March 3 primary to state party officials.

“Lee will be remembered for his excellent leadership,” Martin said. “He was a father, an Army veteran and attorney. He helped everyone he could. He had a passion for politics and government. His passion, leadership, energy and love for people also made him a great chair of the Tallapoosa County Republican Party.”

Everyone expressed their condolences for Hamilton.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Hamilton’s family and close acquaintances,” Gardner said.

Arrangements for Hamilton’s funeral were not known at press time.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.