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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Silver Taps: Benjamin David Hamilton Jr.

Benjamin.jpg
Benjamin.jpg

Benjamin Hamilton Jr. learned from a young age not to take people’s word for it, as far as opinions go. He was always his own person.

“He was always kind of told from the beginning to just kind of do your own research and decide what you think is true. He basically always did that,” his stepmother, April Hamilton said. “He’s always been a researcher. He’s always been just interested in finding out the truth as far as we can know the truth — he’s pretty much exactly like his dad. He was very stubborn, very opinionated but also very smart.”

Benjamin was always willing to help people, while still having boundaries, which April said she always admired about him. 

“He would help them if they needed help, but wouldn’t let people take advantage of him,” April said.

Benjamin grew up in Mississippi, living with his mother and stepfather, Courtney and Kevin Jennings, for the first half of his life, and then with his father and stepmother after his eighth-grade year. As Benjamin entered high school, he started to become more competitive with his academics.

“Though he had a four-point-something GPA when he graduated high school, he was still not anywhere near the top of his class because he was just around all these smart people,” April said. “He was always just trying to learn new things. He went to [Texas] A&M on the Presidential Endowment scholarship, basically a full ride. He was a National Merit Finalist. He held himself to a very high standard.”

Though Benjamin was his own person, it was frustrating for his dad because they were basically identical, April said. 

“We used to call them ‘The Bens,’ me and Valerie, who was his fiancee,” April said. “She would text me every once in a while and be like, ‘Does your Ben do this?’ And I’d be like, ‘Yep, my Ben does that.’ That’s just ‘The Bens,’ that’s how they are.”

Benjamin’s father, Ben Sr., said when Ben Jr. was born, it was the transition from his childhood to adulthood. When he saw him for the first time, he knew his job on this planet was to take care of his son and to give him the life he never had. 

His father recognized Ben’s intelligence from an early age. Ben would lay in bed with his father and ask philosophical questions about karma and the universe — Ben Sr. said he tried his best to explain it to 6-year-old Ben Jr.

Ben Jr. wasn’t only Ben Sr.’s son, but his best friend. Born just 20 years after him, Ben Sr. said his son was his confidant, and that Ben Jr. was connected deeply with him socially, emotionally and spiritually.

His father said Ben Jr. had an analytical mind. As he watched his son grow, he said he saw him make mistakes, but he listened to his father most of the time. He was a good kid, Ben Sr. said.

Ben had a big heart and treated everybody with respect. During his celebration of life, his father said their family expected about 50-60 people to show up. Over 150 people were there. Ben Sr. said the love and support their family got was overwhelming.

Of those, many people present were members of the A&M motorcycle club, a hobby Ben Jr. picked up during COVID-19. This club was a community April said Ben was enveloped in and supported by. 

Ben Sr. and April’s favorite story of Ben is one when he was about four years old — his father bought Ben Jr. a four-wheeler for Christmas. His father put a speed limiter on it so Ben Jr. wouldn’t go too fast, but Ben Jr. knew exactly what his father was doing.

“As soon as he got out of eyesight, [Junior] took off the speed limiter and just floored it,” April said. “His dad said he just looked out across the field and he was going way faster than he was supposed to be and decided to turn left. He made a sharp lift and he flipped the thing probably four or five times and scared the hell out of his dad. Junior knew there were rules and boundaries put in place, but as soon as you weren’t looking, he was going to test that limit.”

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