Hamilton chosen as 2024 Beta Sigma Phi First Lady

Former, longtime librarian at Weiser’s public library, and ready volunteer in the community since moving here some 30 years ago, Pat Hamilton, left, has been selected as Beta Sigma Phi’s 2024 First Lady of the Year. Sorority member Val Donicht is pictured presenting Hamilton with a yellow rose last week when a group of the sorority’s members surprised her. Photo by Philip Janguart
Philip A. Janquart
Former Weiser Librarian and current ROSE Advocates Thrifty Boutique volunteer Pat Hamilton has been chosen as Beta Sigma Phi’s 2024 First Lady of the Year.
 Representatives of the sorority surprised Pat on Thursday, Feb. 22 as she worked in the back room of the thrift store, conveying the news and presenting her with a small bouquet of flowers.
 “Oh, my! This is so nice!” she exclaimed as sorority members congratulated her.
 Beta Sigma Phi International is a non-academic sorority with 200,000 members in chapters around the world.
 Every year, chapters in the Snake River council of Beta Sigma Phi nominate and select a woman that members believe should be recognized for her contributions to the community, giving her the honored title of “First Lady of the Year.”
 The tradition, which dates back to 1978, is intended to recognize women who are dedicated to “giving back” to the community and are involved in charities or service projects. The longstanding rule is that the nominee cannot be a member of the sorority.
 “This is such a nice honor; this is totally unexpected,” said Pat who was raised in Fresno, Calif.
 She graduated from Fresno State University where she majored in art and minored in geography before earning her teacher’s certification in 1967. Upon graduation, she was presented with several opportunities, but chose to teach kindergarten at a school for underprivileged kids in Redondo Beach.
 “It was fabulous. We had 36 kids in each class, a morning class, and an afternoon class, which I shared with another teacher. So, we had two teachers in the classroom, plus mother helpers. We didn’t know any better: 36 kids … eh,” she said, swiping a hand through the air. “We were just kind of strict and got the kids under control, and they were a piece of cake.”
 She would spend the next 25 years at the same school before retiring and moving to Weiser.
 “We had a friend that lived in the [historic] Galloway House and decided to go visit,” she explained. “That weekend, we bought the Leighton House.”
 She and then husband, Bob, rented the house to tenants for two years while Pat finished out her career in California. They lived in the house for five years once in Weiser.
 At the time, Bob was in the midst of opening a computer store and offered to automate the library for free to help market the new business. When an opening for a clerk opened up, Pat was a shoe-in.
 “I was a retired teacher and wasn’t doing anything, so I started working at the library as a clerk, making $4.95 an hour,” she said.
 Two years later, the young librarian left the area to find a husband, leaving the position open. 
 “There was no interview; there was nothing. It was just, ‘Do you want to be the librarian?’” Pat explained. “I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’”
 Pat’s second career lasted some 22 years before she retired in May 2021. Current librarian Timbra Long was hired as her replacement.
 Pat has served as a community volunteer in various capacities, specifically as a Weiser Memorial Hospital Foundation board member for five years. She is currently a member of the Friends of the Hospital, an organization that raises funds for WMH.
 She also volunteers at the thrift shop as a way to stay connected with people.
 “That’s what I miss about the library,” she said. “I miss meeting people and working a few hours a week at the thrift store kind of takes care of that need. It has been a good life, a really good life. I’ve had a really wonderful time here in Weiser.”
 Pat will be honored at a formal sorority “Tea” to be held at a location and on a date of her choosing, which will be announced in a future issue of the Signal American.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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