Richard Mark Hamlin, Sr., of Akron, Ohio and Naples, Florida passed away peacefully at his home on February 24, 2021 with his family by his side. Mr. Hamlin, "Dick" to his family and close friends, was born in Akron on April 23, 1927, and was a lifelong resident. A devout Catholic, he attended St. Sebastian's Grade School, his beloved Campion Jesuit Preparatory School in Wisconsin, and graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland. He served in the United States Navy in the Pacific theater during WWII. After the war, Mr. Hamlin returned to Akron and married the love of his life, Yvonne Diana Franz with whom he would celebrate the births of four children and 69 anniversaries.
Mr. Hamlin was devoted to Akron and was an unparalleled leader in its business community for over 60 years. In 1954, he founded The R. M. Hamlin Construction Company which specialized in residential construction and design. Many of that company's stately homes grace Akron's western neighborhoods today. He considered a home to be an investment in one's family. Even well into his 90's, he was rarely without a home construction project underway, each of which reflected his extraordinary creativity. In 1975, Dick and his friends David L. Brennan and James P. McCready founded and co-owned The Brenlin Group and enjoyed a long and very successful business association. Under their leadership, The Brenlin Group grew to include 25 companies with nearly $1 billion in combined annual sales revenue. In 1988, it was listed in Forbes Magazine as the 288th largest privately held company in the United States. In 1995, Mr. Hamlin founded The Reserve Group, which continues today under the leadership of his son, R. Mark Hamlin, Jr.
Dick attributed a large measure of his success in life and in business not only to the devoted support of Yvonne, but also in great measure to his relationships with his father and his father-in-law. His father, Earl W. Hamlin, Sr., who died when Dick was just 16, taught him life's most important lessons, and instilled in him the principles and values by which he modeled his entire life. He faithfully followed one of his father's axioms, "Listen to everyone, then make your own decision," even if it meant going against popular opinion. From his father-in-law, Philip J. Franz, also an Akron homebuilder, he learned the nuances of the residential construction business and real estate markets.
Dick's record of community service and philanthropy is a testament to his love for Akron and John Carroll University . He has generously aided the efforts of many local charities through his membership in Akron Bluecoats, Kiwanis, Rotary, The Knights of Columbus, and The Homebuilders Association of Akron. Together with Yvonne, they are among the largest benefactors of Akron Summa Hospital and have been recognized for their commitment by the naming of a building wing and a coronary surgical unit in their honor. He served as a Trustee of John Carroll University for over 40 years and was named one of its business schools fifty most outstanding graduates. Several university causes and campus locations bear their names in testament to his accomplishments and their generosity.
Dick was married to his cherished wife Yvonne for 69 years. They were unfailing partners and companions in every one of their endeavors, the most important of which was the raising of their four children Mary Beth, Mark, Missy and Tracy. Yvonne and Dick enjoyed traveling, visiting many countries, even taking the Concorde on its first circumnavigation of the world. Their home in Naples served as their winter escape, a corporate retreat, and family gathering place for over forty joyous years.
Dick is survived by his beloved wife, Yvonne; their children Mary Elizabeth ("Mary Beth") Shannon (Jim), Richard Mark Hamlin, Jr. (Elizabeth), Diana McKenna ("Missy") O'Neill, Suzanne Celeste ("Tracy") Nolan (Justin); their eleven grandchildren Caroline McKenna Finke, Hollis Alexander Hamlin Finke, Richard Mark Hamlin, III (Margie), Faith Elizabeth Hamlin, Thomas Emmet O'Neill, IV, Martha McKenna O'Neill, Mary McDermott O'Neill, Suzanne McKenna Nolan Sykes (Patrick), Justin Timothy Nolan, Jr. (Venezia), Michael Patrick Nolan, and Catherine Herlihy Nolan; and their three great-grandchildren Iris Willamae Hamlin, Catherine Celeste Sykes and Patrick Richard Sykes, Jr. Dick was preceded in death by his much loved parents Helen Barry and Earl William Hamlin, Sr., dear sister Rita Jane Schmitz and her husband John, brother Earl William Hamlin, Jr. and his wife Kate, brother Jerome Barry Hamlin, and brother-in-law Philip Fulton Franz. He is also survived by his dear sisters-in-law Nancy Schwab Hamlin and Deborah Edgar Franz, and by numerous much loved nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 7:00pm on Saturday, March 6th at St. Sebastian Church. The family will receive friends beforehand from 5:45pm until 7:00pm. A private interment will take place at Rose Hill Cemetery for the immediate family only on Sunday. Click HERE to view the live stream of the Calling Hours and Funeral Mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Palliative Care Unit of Summa Health in Akron, OH or St. Sebastian Parish Foundation.