James Hamilton

SPINDALE — Spindale officials were stunned to learn of the sudden passing of Commissioner James Hamilton.

Hamilton reportedly died late Tuesday night at Rutherford Regional Hospital.

“This really caught us off guard — out of the blue,” Scott Webber, Spindale town manager, said Wednesday. “When I got word this morning I couldn’t believe it.”

Hamilton was first elected to the Spindle Town Council in 2015, having won as a write-in candidate — the first to do so, at the time, in the last 30 years. He was reelected in last year’s municipal elections. He most recently served as the council’s mayor pro tem.

“James L. Hamilton, Jr. dedicated his life to serving the town of Spindale, first as a police officer and later as a commissioner on the town board,” Webber said. “A true champion of Spindale, his leadership and guidance will be sorely missed.”

Spindale Mayor Mickey Bland directed the flags at Town Hall and the Spindale House to be at half-staff until after Hamilton’s funeral.

“Mr. Hamilton represented each citizen in the town of Spindale with a special emphasis on the African American community and its citizens,” Bland said.”He was a valued contributor to moving the town forward with many projects. His contributions to Spindale and the surrounding community will be greatly missed.

“The town extends its sympathy to the Hamilton family during this difficult time,” Bland added. “We all extend our prayers and thoughts during this time.”

A number of county residents took to social media to extend their condolences and offer the Hamilton family prayers.

“Wow! Sad to see this,” Melissa Oakley posted on Facebook. “Praying for his family and community!”

A high school classmate also posted remarks on Facebook.

Oh no! I’m sorry to hear this,” Annette Moore wrote. “I went to high school with June. The family will be in my thoughts and prayers.”

Jerry Wease, a current candidate for county commissioner, also expressed his sympathy on Facebook.

“I’m saddened to hear of the passing of Spindale Town Council member, Officer James Hamilton, Jr. (“June”),” Wease posted. “Praying for the family and community.”

Hamilton’s death marks the second Spindale commissioner to die suddenly within the last 16 months while serving on the council. Robin Ensley died in April 2019.

It’s unclear at this time what caused Hamilton’s death.