Roger Curtis Hatch, 82, of Conyers, passed away on Monday, September 2. Roger was born on May 28, 1931, in Dodgeville, Wisconsin; the last of three children of Richard Curtis and Hazel Jane (Ladd) Hatch, who owned a dairy farm in Wyoming Valley, Wisconsin. He was a 1949 graduate of Dodgeville High School where he was a star athlete. He was recently inducted into the Dodgeville Athletic Hall of Fame. Roger earned a degree in forestry from the University of Idaho.
Roger proudly served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He married the former Ruth Pinke of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, on August 21, 1955. His first professional job was with the U. S. Forest Service on the Nez Perce National Forest doing trail maintenance, timber sale administration and fighting forest fires. Over the next 22 years, he served the U.S. Forest Service in varying capacities in Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Pennsylvania before moving to Georgia in January 1973 to work with the Cooperative Fire Protection for Southeast Area State and Private Forests. He was promoted to Staff Director of Fire Management for the Southeast Area, thirteen states including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When Ruth died in 1978, Roger chose to remain in Rockdale County with his six children by retiring early rather than taking a position in Washington, D.C.
This began 35 years of dedicated volunteer service. In 1978, Roger founded Volunteer Day with the banner, "Give a Heart, Lend a Hand." He was on the original recycling committee, a member of Kiwanis Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and several county SPLOST citizen advisory committees. Roger was an advocate for clean water, serving on Rockdale County's Soil and Water Conservation District Board, as well as the Upper Ocmulgee River RC&D Council. He was co-founder of the Rockdale County Farmer's Market, where he enjoyed taking his own produce to sell every Tuesday and Saturday, with Ming Chu, his beloved wife of 20 years. He was President of the Rockdale/DeKalb Farm Bureau from 1987-1990, and then Vice President from 1992-2013, giving twenty-five years of dedicated service.
Roger was a devout Christian and a 40-year member of Philadelphia United Methodist Church, who was well-known for hosting Easter Sunrise services for over thirty years on his farm. From the U.S. Capital to the feed store, he was welcomed by all as a friend. He would go out of his way to provide for the needs of others. He was selfless, passionate, determined, utterly fearless. Tough. A true outdoorsman. Roger loved a good joke, always said what was on his mind, and greeted everyone who knocked on his door with, "Would you like a cup of coffee?" He was a great dancer and writer. Even with Hank Aaron's baseball, Ronald Reagan's signature and Chipper Jones' batting glove, nothing was more valuable to him than photos, visits or phone calls from family and friends.
Roger is survived by his wife of twenty years, Ming Chu; sons Timothy Roger (Grace) Hatch of Conyers, Richard Curtis II (Lisa) Hatch of Marietta, Peter Reinhold Hatch of Athens, Jammie (Amy) Chu of Royal Oak, MI; daughters Mary Janet (Tom) Dresser of Strasburg, PA, Linda Louise (Mark) McNeill of Conyers, Patricia Ann (Mark) O'Donnell of Fayetteville, NC; grandchildren Christi, Daniel, and Josiah Hatch, Emily (James) Brandon and Luke Dresser, Alex, Nick and John Hatch, Madison and Noah McNeill, Andrew and Katie O'Donnell, Connor and Reagan Hatch, and Oscar and Stella Chu; sister, Mary (Sam) Hutchinson; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Doris Davies, and brother-in-law, Richard "Dick" Davies. Roger's life will be celebrated at 3 p.m. Saturday, September 7, at Philadelphia United Methodist Church. Friends may call from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday, September 6, at Scot Ward Funeral Home in Conyers. Condolences may be sent to Ming Chu Hatch, 2385 White Road, Conyers, GA, 30012. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given, payable to Georgia Association of District Supervisors to be used for Natural Resources Conservation Workshop, PO Box 111, Athens, GA 30603.
Scot Ward Funeral Services, 699 American Legion Road, Conyers, GA 30012.