Lieutenant Colonel Alden Evans Hatch (US Army, retired) died peacefully last week surrounded by his family. He was 87 years old.
At times it is important to recall how necessary American institutions are to its thriving. Alden was unceasingly devoted to serving in, contributing to and—on many occasions—leading those institutions. We are all better off for it.
He was born in 1935 in Salt Lake City, Utah like generations of his forebears before him. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints possessed a keen interest in institutions, bringing them across the country and erecting new ones upon arriving home. Alden, his two brothers and sister were Army brats, moving frequently and adapting quickly.
After graduating from Eastern Kentucky University, he took a commission with the US Army as an artillery officer. He was Airbourne Ranger qualified and fought with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam. The Army was just one of many institutions to which Al gave his all. He served in the military for a total of 27 years, earning an MPA from the University of Georgia along the way.
After retirement, he dedicated many years more to public service as Business Manager for Findlay City Schools, Northwood, Ohio and Carey, Ohio. His integrity and commitment to the public he served were given conscientiously and abundantly.
Then there was the institution about which he was most passionate: his family. Sixty-five years marriage to his beloved Jill stands as testament to that. Even when called away on unaccompanied tours, he could somehow manage to be there for his wife and the two Army brats of their own. He worked his career around them, not the other way around. All of them survive him. And there were dogs in the family; many, many dogs. It is said that if a person needs dogs to be happy in heaven, then there will be dogs. Alden’s heaven has dogs—lots of them. Music, too. There was always time for the very best music.
Yet he also found time to volunteer for the Put-Han-Sen Boy Scout Council, was both a Freemason and a Shriner, was recognized for his contributions to The Rotary and was an officer in The Senate. Alden appreciated voluntary associations as important institutions, too.
Alden knew that institutions are sometimes flawed, populated as they are with fallen human beings. But he also knew that a free people, well-educated and committed—motivated not by any sense of self-regard, let alone self-aggrandizement—when gathered for the best interests of the community, can achieve astonishing things. That’s his legacy and he will be missed.
As his family has elected to conduct a private ceremony, we ask that those wishing to commemorate Al consider making a charitable contribution in his name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home has the honor of serving the family.
Online condolences may be made at www.kirkpatrickbehnke.com.
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