Earl Hatch - May 14, 2009G. Earl Hatch, a prominent Grant, Neb., businessman of 43 years, died May 14, 2009 at Perkins County Community Hospital after a year long struggle with stomach cancer.
Earl was born the younger of two sons to Charlie and Florence Pankonin Hatch in Grant on May 8, 1932. He grew up in Grant and graduated from Perkins County Community High School in 1949. He attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Earl married Darlene Hansmeier on Aug. 21, 1955 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ogallala, Neb. Promptly after marriage Earl and Darlene moved to Oakland, Calif., where he was employed for five years with Safeway Foods. In 1960, Charlie decided to retire from his family owned “Red and White” grocery store, giving Earl and Darlene the chance to acquire the business and return home to Grant.
Earl worked long, hard hours in the store filling roles of butcher, produce manager and clerk as needed. In 1963 they built a new store at the south end of main street, becoming one of Earl’s most successful accomplishments. Earl’s dream was to have his next generation continue in the grocery business prompting the sale of the business and the transition into a new expanded facility in 2004. Earl also had a love of the land, forged through a successful farming venture originating with long-time family friend Hoyt Hendricks.
During the years Earl was in business he was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, was involved in the Grant Chamber of Commerce, Grant Industrial Development Committee, Jaycees, Moose Club and also was a life-long member of the Ogallala Elks Club.
He was an avid supporter of 4-H and Grant Youth Development Club.
He loved watching his children play all sports they were active in, and then came the grandsons. He enjoyed watching Kyle’s games and the Plainsmen’s numerous attempts at state football and basketball titles were special to Earl. He also enjoyed his years of travel to Chicago, watching grandsons Kasey and Kolby play in football and baseball. Just recently Earl capped his support of grandson sports activities with a North Carolina tour watching Kasey pitch in a college baseball tourney.
Earl was an avid Nebraska football fan. He loved to fish (especially at Lake McConaughy) and travel. Arizona in winter was a favorite, and he was known to be able to consistently have a really “good time” wherever he went. He and Darlene just finished a lifelong dream of visiting all 50 states.
He was preceded in death by his parents Charlie and Florence Hatch, Shelly Hatch, Dorothy Hatch, Gary Hansmeier, Edie Hansmeier, Fred and Sophia Hansmeier Erthum.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Darlene; son Kevin and wife Barbara of Grant; son, Kirk of Casa Grande, Ariz., daughter Kendra and husband Dan Ourada of Clarendon Hills, Ill.; grandsons Kyle and wife Megan of Lincoln, Neb., Kasey of Greenville, N.C., Kolby of Clarendon Hills, Ill., Tony of Ft. Collins, Colo., Sam of Madrid, Neb., Ben of Lincoln, granddaughter Candace of Grant; his only brother Dean of Grant and many other relatives and a host of friends too numerous to mention.
Funeral services were held at the Zion Lutheran Church in Grant on Saturday, May 16 with Pastor Ron Krause officiating.
Music was provided by Evelyn Gengenbach and Lori McCloskey.
Casket bearers were Kyle Hatch, Kasey Ourada, Kolby Ourada, Tony Leonard, Ben Lee and Sam Lee.
Interment was at Fairview Cemetery of Grant.
A memorial has been established.
Bullock-Long Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.