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John Hampton (philanthropist)

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John Hampton (philanthropist)

John Hampton (May 24, 1907 – July 4, 2010) was an American retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel and former journalist. Hampton is credited with co-founding Toys for Tots with Major William L. Hendricks and other U.S. Marines during the late 1940s.[1]

Hampton was born on May 24, 1907.[2] Hampton received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Baylor University.[1] He worked as a journalist for several wire services and newspapers in Texas, Louisiana and Kansas following his graduation.[1] Hampton enlisted in the United States Marines during World War II and was sent to the Pacific theater. He coded and decoded encrypted messages during the war.[1]

Hampton was stationed at a Marine Reserve training center in Los Angeles following the end of World War II, where he worked as a public information officer.[1] He would meet Major William L. Hendricks at the Los Angeles center, who would co-found Toys for Tots.[1] Hendricks, who was public relations officer for Warner Bros. by profession, created a campaign to place collection bins for toys outside of Warner Bros movie theaters, which evolved into Toys for Tots. Hendricks partnered with Hampton to lead the toy collections in the area.[1] Hampton also used his journalism experience to promote the campaign.[1]

Hampton later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he practiced public relations in Oakland.[1] He married his wife, Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, Nora Hampton.[1] Nora Hampton, who worked for the Oakland Tribune, was nominated for a Pulitzer for first-person account of her experience as an airline passenger on a plane which was flown to Cuba in a 1969 hijacking.[1] The couple resided in Orinda, California, until Nora Hampton's death on November 24, 1994.[1][2]

Hampton began showing symptoms of dementia in 2000.[1] He died on July 4, 2010, at the Deer Hill Care Home in Lafayette, California, at the age of 103.[1] His son, Mikey Hampton, died in 2006, leaving no close relatives.[1]

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