Donald “Don” B. Hampton, 88, of Middletown, RI, passed away on November 5, 2022, in Newport Hospital with his loving family by his side. He was the devoted husband of Sylvia (Smith) Hampton and father to Bruce Hampton, Sue Hampton-Auriemma, and Scott Hampton.
Don was born in Cleveland, OH, to the late William and Marion (Parsons) Hampton. He grew up in South Euclid, OH, where he attended the local primary school and Brush High School. Don graduated from Hiram College with a degree in mathematics and physics. He intended to go directly to graduate school but was instead drafted into the Army, where he served as a Counterintelligence Corp Analyst in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Don’s mother fell ill during his service, and he received early release to be with her during her final days. After returning to the US, Don began his graduate studies at Tufts University and received a master’s degree in experimental psychology.
At the start of his career, Don worked in the greater Boston area at RCA (where he met Sylvia) and Sylvania. The majority of his career was spent at Raytheon in Portsmouth, RI, where he worked for a total of 27 years in the Submarine Signal Division – first as a Human Factors Engineer and later as Program Manager for SADS-TG.
Don’s many talents were apparent at a young age; beginning in his teen years, he was recognized as the “go-to man” for car repairs by his friends and neighbors. Don’s passion for all things automotive continued throughout his life and included teaching his children about car repairs and the acquisition and restoration of a 1940 Buick and 1930 Chevrolet. Additionally, Don was an expert antique clock repairman, and what began as a hobby became a side job after his retirement from Raytheon.
Another major achievement was the completion of the family’s vacation home on Newfound Lake, NH. Beginning with only the shell of the house, Don traveled every weekend from RI to NH with his young family to finish the rest of the work: from installing the electricity to painting the walls and everything in between. In all, the project took almost a full year to complete. After becoming a grandfather, Don developed a new area of expertise as a master toy craftsman, creating a series of handmade wooden toys for each of his grandchildren.
Don will be remembered as a storyteller. His stories ranged from tales of his youth, his time in the Army, his work at Raytheon, his car and clock restorations, and beyond. Don’s memory will live on through the products of his handiwork and the re-telling of his stories for years to come.
Don is survived by his wife, Sylvia S. Hampton; his children, Bruce (Katie) Hampton, of Bristol, RI, Sue Hampton-Auriemma, of Manhasset, NY, and Scott (Emily) Hampton, of New York, NY; his sister, Marion Mengert, of Exeter, NH; a step-brother, Willy Hoey, of Enfield, CT and four grandchildren; Julia Auriemma, Maxwell Hampton, Benjamin Auriemma, and Kathryn Auriemma. He additionally leaves many nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held on Saturday, December 3, 2022 from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM in the Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Road, Portsmouth, RI.
Memorial services will immediately follow in the funeral home at 11:30 AM. Burial will be private.