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Arthur Hampton Jr., reliant on blood donors, dies

By GREG WILLIAMS

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 22, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Arthur Lee "Peanut" Hampton Jr., who had aplastic anemia and owed his short life to a small group of dedicated blood donors, died Wednesday (Dec. 20, 2000) at Bayfront Medical Center. He was 30.

Mr. Hampton died of hepatitis, his mother, Vickie Johnson, said. Because of his anemia, he was not eligible for a liver transplant, she said.

Since the age of 9, Mr. Hampton needed weekly transfusions of blood because his bone marrow could make none of its own. Thanks to a dozen special donors whose blood cells closely resembled the genetic makeup of Mr. Hampton's, he was never without, his mother said.

"Over the years, (the donors) were just very, very good to him. Everybody was good to him," she said.

One of those donors was local theater actor John Monro, who died of a heart attack in 1996. He donated more than 30 gallons of blood, and at least once a month, he would spend two hours on a machine that collected blood cells to keep Mr. Hampton alive.

"He lived as normal a life as he could have," Mrs. Johnson said of her son. "A lot of people didn't realize how sick he was, but he was a normal teenager. He played baseball and basketball. He did everything."

Mr. Hampton attended Osceola High School. He tried to work despite doctor's orders against it, Mrs. Johnson said, but found it too stressful.

Mrs. Johnson was pregnant with Mr. Hampton's half-brother, Tyrone Cleveland Johnson Jr., when Mr. Hampton was diagnosed with aplastic anemia.

"I held him (Arthur) when he came into this world and I held him when he went out," Mrs. Johnson said. "I was looking dead in his eyes when he left me. That's one memory I'll never forget."

Other survivors include a son, Arthur "A.J." III, his father, Arthur Hampton Sr., a sister, Tonya Varner, his stepfather, Tyrone Johnson Sr., his paternal grandparents, Jake and Beatrice Hampton, and his maternal grandparents, Dave and Viola Varner, all of St. Petersburg; and his maternal great-grandfather, Paris Williams, California.

Visitation is 3 to 8 p.m. today at Zion Hill Mortuary. The funeral is at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 955 20th St. S. Zion Hill Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

- Information from Times files was used in this obituary.

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