Wayne Hatch, 93, of Missoula, passed away on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at home in Missoula, Montana of complications due to Covid-19. Though fully vaccinated, Wayne’s frail body could not withstand the onslaught of the virus.
Wayne was born February 19, 1928, in McLaughlin, South Dakota to Marion and Bertha Hatch, who, in his words, were the best mom and dad anyone could ever have. One of eleven children, his childhood was full of fun with his siblings. His main love in school was sports. He was in the starting five in basketball and played quarterback and linebacker in football.
He joined the army after graduating from high school and proudly served his country in Korea. Upon his return, he went to college until leaving to work for E.Y. Berry’s election campaign to the U.S. House of Representatives. After Mr. Berry was elected, Wayne went on to train as a printer.
Wayne worked as a linotype operator in Red Lodge, Montana where he met and married Wilma Dowlin on April 23, 1954. They lived a few years in Deer Lodge and then purchased and ran The Downtown Printers in Billings until they both retired to Gardiner, Montana.
According to Wayne, his most important accomplishment in his life was raising four kids who all went to college, are healthy, and have wonderful kids and grandkids.
He enjoyed golfing and playing cards - he was known for his prowess at bridge. He also loved watching sports. In his later years, the best nights were when the Jazz and Braves were both playing.
His incredible sense of humor never faltered. He was kind and caring throughout his life, giving his family and friends unconditional love. He always looked for the best in people and taught his children to do the same. He said he could not sing or lead Bible studies, but he hoped to bring a little of God’s joy into people’s lives with kind words, jokes, and smiles.
His last couple of years in Missoula were a special time spent with his daughter Tamra playing Scrabble, watching sunrises at Lee Metcalf, and helping take pictures of migratory waterfowl. His friends at The Beehive could always count on a Tootsie Roll or chocolate bar from Wayne.
He is preceded in death by all his siblings and his wife Wilma. Survivors include his four children and their families, Tamra (Jim) Hatch, Missoula, Thomas (Linda) Hatch, Prineville, Oregon, Terri (Kirk) Johnston, Bozeman, and Todd Hatch, Chicago, Illinois. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces.
Finally, his greatest wish was that everyone would know the Lord. One day, he asked the pastor if he knew why he liked daily devotions. The pastor suggested it was because they were short. Wayne replied that it reminds him God is not only the God of Sunday, but the God of every day.