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Dawn Hagan Byers

Our Kids Castle Matriarch, our Leader for so many years, our Mentor, our Friend Dawn Hagan Byers, 51 years old, passed at home surrounded by family on November 27th, following a courageous 4-year battle with ovarian cancer.

While Dawn herself would have told you that Kids Castle exists because of a community effort made up of volunteers, local businesses, caring donors, and the Township – if you asked any one of these people why Kids Castle exists, they would all tell you without hesitation that it is because of Dawn Byers.

Why? Because it is true!

Not only is it true that her unrelenting will and ability was the reason why Kids Castle was built back in 1996, Dawn is also the reason why Kids Castle has been successfully sustained as a precious gift to the community over the past 24-years.

Additionally, in 2012 not only did Dawn inspire us all to continue the legacy of Kids Castle by bringing us all together to save the castle itself from demolition and to rebuild the playground – she was also there doing the work.

While her absence creates a big void filled with sadness; in typical Dawn can-do fashion, she continues to help us all, now and for generations to come through her incredible great works at Kids Castle.

Thank you Dawn!

Knights in Shining Armour

Although the Kids Castle Art and Beautification Committee is full of new faces and talent, the committee also contains a special group of Kids Castle veterans.

Though it’s hard to believe, these artists have been there since the castle’s beginning, some sixteen years ago. One of these dedicated creators is Pam Hamilton, who created the red and blue knights, which are the new castle guards.

How did Hamilton get involved with Kids Castle? The Hamilton’s were one of the many families who, along with local businesses, carpenters, artists, and other community members, helped create the original castle. While her husband Keith helped physically build the castle with his woodworking skills, Hamilton helped aesthetically build the castle with her painting abilities. At its grand opening on June 22, 1997, Hamilton’s four children (then one, three, six, and nine years old, respectively) were among the first of many to explore the giant playground’s numerous towers and slides. Though her children are now in their twenties, Hamilton quickly volunteered to step up once again when she heard that the castle, worn from age and endless hours of play by the children who loved it, needed a facelift.

So who is this person whose story is so intertwined with that of Kids Castle? Hamilton is a professional artist with a rich array of experiences and a long résumé. Even at a young age, she was inclined toward the arts, having “redesigned” her mother’s dining room rug by coloring the patterns a new shade of lipstick. After winning numerous art awards at Doylestown’s very own Central Bucks West High School, she continued her education first at Bucks County Community College on an art scholarship, then at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1982. While running a successful real estate practice with Keller Williams Realty using her creative marketing talents, she also learned several trades from the “creative ground up,” including the printing field as an art director for a print shop, and working for a friend who owns a sign businessAs a testimony to her abilities, Hamilton’s work has been gifted to a collection of notable people, including “the Peace Troubadour” James Twyman, psychic and medium Sylvia Brown, the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, and celebrity entrepreneur and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.


In addition to being an accomplished artist, Hamilton is also a spiritual leader. Besides practicing and teaching yoga and meditation, Hamilton fulfilled a lifelong desire to be ordained, and in 2004 received her Master of Divinity degree from the Beloved Community in Ashland, Oregon, as an interfaith minister. The following year she traveled to Italy with several of her ministry classmates on a two-week-long peace pilgrimage, during which she and her group walked from Assisi to Rome (which, at 110 miles, is a feat in itself!) The group was lucky enough to gain an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, after which Hamilton was honored to present His Holiness with a special piece of art.

Hamilton is a proud member of the Graphic Arts Guild, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Bucks County Illustrator Society, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the prestigious Society of Illustrators.

Besides helping the Save Kids Castle initiative, Hamilton also engages with the community by creating pieces to help raise money for KW Cares, a public charity that raises “money through Keller Williams offices across North America,” via their annual auction. These days she can be found back at school, studying graphic design and illustration at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, or, of course, working in the studio inside her 200-year-old farmhouse with her three pups.

For more information about Hamilton and to see pictures of her work, visit her website, You can also check out her Facebook page at, follow her on Twitter @pamh158, or read her blog,