Born in Geneva, NY on October 21, 1924, to Marguerite and Franklin Schmidt, Sheila grew up with her mom, her step-father Bill Galvin, sister Joyce, Aunt Isabel and Uncle Charlie in Ithaca, Bound Brook, NJ and White Plains, NY where she graduated from White Plains High School. She went off to college in 1943 discovering her “Camelot” in Middlebury College. After 3 years of accelerated study due to the war, and many antics with her best friend of now 75 years, Cam (Joan) Shaw, she graduated in 1946. Sheila stayed on in Middlebury working for the food service at the college where she met Jack Hamilton in November of 1947 when he attended on the GI Bill. They fell in love and were married (after Jack asked permission from Cam saying “I have more fun with Sheila than a barrel of monkeys!”) on June 12, 1948.
Sheila and Jack started their family in Chester, Vermont with the birth of son Michael (wife Daria Burns). Jack then took a job with the International Silver Company which would start a process of regular moves to Ohio, Illinois and back to Ohio before they landed permanently in Southington, CT. By then they had 2 more boys, David and Greg (wife Mary Beth) and in Southington had their last child, Mary. Sheila was a long time, devoted member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Southington, and was active in the League of Women Voters and the Red Cross. She went back to work in 1973 eventually becoming Clinical Coordinator at Wheeler Clinic, a therapeutic clinic for children and families in Farmington, CT. She loved this work and was beloved by the staff and clients alike.
Jack died suddenly in 1974 leaving Sheila to lead the family solo. She began that journey by taking the whole family on a trip to England, the start of a love of European travel that would take her to Paris, Italy, Provence, Switzerland and beyond.
Eight years after Jack’s death, Sheila married long time family friend Bill Rowland doubling her then adult family with Bill’s kids Jim, Jean, Billy and Mickey. Sheila and Bill filled their days with travel, gardens (Sheila), woodworking (Bill), and a family-gathering vacation home in New Hampshire. They moved to Plattsburgh, NY in 2001 to be closer to Mary (and then husband John Homer) and Greg.
Sheila returned to her Camelot in 2012 moving to the Lodge at Otter Creek in Middlebury. She loved drives into town and up to the campus on the hill to reminisce about her days there.
Sheila was funny, intelligent, opinionated, an extraordinary cook, a voracious reader, had a terrible singing voice (she’d be the first to tell you), a lover of cats, rabbits, flowers and Italian food. She was a passionate Francophile, tennis player, an early practicer of yoga and a collector of antiques. She was a wonderful friend and mother and she will be sorely missed.
Predeceased by second husband Bill, she leaves her own and Bill’s kids and grandchildren: Megan, Emma, Jack, Will, Lily, Isabel, Maggie, Sam, Adam and Mircea on the Hamilton side and Chandler, Molly, Billy, Alice, Jamie and Carol on the Rowland side.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Residence at Shelburne Bay especially Brandon, Jessica, Dragana, Bifoko, Lindsey, Marie-Claire, Christian, Samuel, Anet, Suki, and nurses Aimee, Molly and Jeanine. We would also like to thank the staff at Bayada Hospice, especially Mel and Martha. And a final thanks to Dr. Frank Landry who consistently had mom’s back.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to Heifer International at www.heifer.org.