If you read the title of this post and say “who?”, this paragraph will serve as a brief introduction (you can find more on the web). Ron Hamilton was known as “Patch the Pirate” and created more than 40 adventures emphasizing some area of Christian character. He was called Patch the Pirate because when he was 27, he lost an eye and decided to wear a patch. Kids at his church began calling him Patch the Pirate; the name stuck, and a ministry was born that God used and blessed.
In 2017, he announced that he had dementia; on Wed, 19 April 2023, he went to be with his Lord about whom he composed and sang all of his life. His wife, Shelly had a Facebook page and posted information about her life caring for her husband. The posts are filled with the grace of God.
I only saw/met him once, many years ago, but I remember it because God used Ron Hamilton (and his father-in-law, Frank Garlock) to do a work in my life. I think the year was 1981 (it may have been 1982, but I think it was 1981). I was in college, and I was the only college student attending the church I went to. The youth department people kindly allowed me to do things with the youth group. In the spring, they went to a youth conference at which Frank Garlock and Ron Hamilton were speaking about music.
God’s timing is always perfect; I really needed that conference at that time, and God used both of the speakers to convict me about my music listening.
I remember Ron Hamilton giving his testimony; he spoke about going to the eye doctor, who found something in his eye. They needed to do some surgery, and I remember him saying that the doctor told him that he would either wake up with a spot removed or without an eye. Those were pretty extreme options! He discovered that they had to remove his eye, as I noted above. If I remember correctly, it was while he was recovering that he learned his wife was expecting their first child. He wrote the song “Rejoice in the Lord” as a result of this time; I remember him singing it at the conference.
Another thing I’m impressed with is how Ron’s wife, Shelly, handled the transition to his wife: she had already done some composing under her maiden name (Shelly Garlock). When she and Ron married, she used Shelly Garlock Hamilton for a few years, and then was just Shelly Hamilton. It is a small thing, but I was impressed by it.
I am grateful to God that I was able to go and for what God did for me in that long-ago conference.
Rejoice in the Lord, Ron… and may the God of all comfort pour out His grace on Shelly.