Today our hearts are heavy as we lay to rest one of our fiercest advocates and dearest friends - TRA past president, and former state representative (2003-2012) – Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton.
Best known for his beaming smile, sharp wit and never-ending generosity, Tuffy was a fixture at the Capital. He was an expert negotiator, navigating complex legislation, and political landmines with grace and tenacity. He often softened the rift between party aisles with his cakes which were legendary throughout the state.
He worked in various positions in the food and beverage industry before buying Tuffy’s Eatery in Mauriceville in 1990. He was known for his chicken fried steak, rolls, desserts, and southern food which caused the nickname “Tuffy” to stick. Hamilton sold Tuffy’s Eatery shortly after Hurricane Rita in 2005 and opened Hamilton’s Restaurant and Bar in Port Arthur in 2017 with similar food. He was the also the owner of the West Bar and Grill in Beaumont.
During the most recent legislative session, at the end of a long day he would text his lobby team with a hearty, “Tuffy OUT!” His contributions to the association, to our industry and to the state of Texas are immeasurable, as is the inherent joy he brought to those fortunate enough to cross his path. Tuffy may be out – but he will not be forgotten.