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GEORGE "RICH" RICHARD HATTON
September 17th, 1923 ~ May 7th, 2013
"Rich" Hatton, 89, passed away in Vancouver, WA surrounded by family. He was born in Bakersfield, CA and was the son of John and Gladys Hatton. The second of four brothers, Rich and family moved to Marcola, Oregon where his father operated a gas station and auto repair shop. Rich and his younger brother by 11 months were responsible for cutting and splitting fire wood each summer to fuel the family wood cook stove for the year. It was during those years when Rich and his brothers learned their tremendous work and family ethic.
Rich graduated from high school in May 1941 and immediately joined the U.S. Navy, where he served "five years, five months and 25 days" mostly on destroyers. He survived the attack at Pearl Harbor and just over one year later, the sinking of his ship off the Aleutian islands. He was saved from the freezing water by the personnel of a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel and forever remained a supporter of the Coast Guard. Rich was member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and attended many ship reunions over the years, eventually meeting some of the men who pulled him from the freezing water on that cold January, 1943 day.
A proud time in Rich's life was his trip to the 70th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Commemoration where he was honored as one of the 125 remaining survivors of the attack who attended. He traveled to Hawaii with his entire family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for this moving and important event in his life.
Rich met Mildred "Millie" Wald when they attended Marcola grade school together. They were together from this early age and married in 1944. They moved to Eugene after the war where Rich became the sales manager of a family owned business.
When Millie died in 1978, Rich retired to enjoy camping and traveling to Arizona. He met and married Patricia Grant. They moved to Vancouver in 2009 in order to be closer to family. Pat passed away in 2012.
Rich is survived by his children, Greg Hatton (Betsy) of Vancouver and Terry Currier (Bill) of Menifee, CA; step- daughter, Sandra Johns (Larry) of Craig, CO; six grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Rich was good father, grandfather and a friend to many.
We will miss him.
A memorial service will be held at a future date.
Please sign his Guest Book at www.columbian.com/obits.
Published in The Columbian on May 12, 2013