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June 13, 1930 - June 8, 2006

God saw he was getting tired, and a cure was not to be; So he put His arms around him, and whispered, "Come with me."
With tearful eyes we watched him suffer, and saw him fade away; Although we loved him dearly, we could not make him stay.
A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands to rest; God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best!



RICHARD “DICK” HATCHER Age 75, of Lantana, FL passed away Thursday, June 8, 2006. He was raised in Palm Beach County and graduated from Lake Worth High School in 1948. Serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, he learned his trade as aircraft mechanic. In 1954 he married Marilynn Painter of Lantana. He then attended Embry-Riddle School of Aeronautics in Miami. Upon his graduation, he worked as an aircraft mechanic with Eastern Airlines, and was soon promoted to aircraft inspector, a career spanning 31 years. In addition to raising his four children, he co-founded and actively volunteered in the Optimist Club of Miami Lakes, coaching numerous teams over the years. In 1977 he transferred with Eastern to Atlanta and enjoyed growing vegetables and tending to his vineyard in Fayette County, Georgia. Summers in Lantana he successfully marketed the famous Hatcher mango developed by his father. He also enjoyed traveling widely in his RV to visit family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Pearl Hatcher, and brothers R.L. Lamar, David and Merlin. Survived by Marilynn, his wife of nearly 52 years, daughter Sharon (Alex) Ypsilanti of NY, daughter Kathleen (Mark) Zeitler of Lake Worth, son Richard Jr (Kelly) Hatcher of CA, son John (Debbie) Hatcher of GA and 10 grandchildren.


My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
with tiny lights, like Heavens, reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear,
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas Choir up here.
I have no words to tell you, the joy the voices bring,
For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away,
We really aren't apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones,
You know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessings or love he has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.
Remember I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.




Dear Marilyn, I don't know if you remember me, I'm not one of the breakfast gang except when I used to visit occasionally on Saturday morning. I did play football and baseball with Dick and as a 135 pound guard he was one of the toughest anyone would run into. In baseball, I hated to play catch because he threw the ball so darn hard it was like a game of "burn out". 

One funny story - Dick and I was in, I believe his "34" Chevy Coupe, heading west on Lucerne Ave at the red light at Dixie Hwy, and one of our managers on our sports team named "Squeaky" was next to Dick and I in his Dad's Studebaker. Each of the guys were gunning their engines for a race. We counted 1, 2, 3 and Dick popped the clutch and leaped forward and slammed on his brakes. Squeaky ran through the red light. 

Dick played left field on our championship runner-up American Legion team.  I have a lot of fond memories.

--Dutch Grose, Jul. 14, 2012 

I have been a friend of Marilyn and Dick Hatcher for many years.  Dick and I played sports together at Lake Worth High School in the 1940’s.  We were a small school but played large schools particularly in Miami where we played football and baseball against Miami Edison, Coral Gables, Miami Tech and Miami Beach.  We also played Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Vero Beach and Sarasota.  Dick was the right guard and I was the right halfback.  He was an exceptional guard and one of the best in South Florida....(read letter here)

--Eugene F. Bie, Jan. 9, 2008


Every year Mango season brings back some wonderful memories of my Lake Worth High School friend, Dick, and our Saturday morning breakfast meetings at Nick's. Back in 1949 Dick and I had great plans to use my uncle's boat and head to the West Coast to do some fishing. I messed it up by having to go to the hospital for appendicitis. Not to be denied of our love of fishing, we spent many great times at Forest Beaty's camp in Astor, Florida. If someone said "have a good day, Dick", his response was always "Don't tell me what to do". I still miss my friend of a lifetime and think of him often. 

--Chuck Kimberly, July 4, 2012


Marilynn: We will truly miss Dick, our true friend and buddy here in Fayetteville, Ga. He was always so kind to us and treated us like family. We will cherish some wonderful memories of you and Dick, together with us as we ventured out to eat and laugh - I think we did more laughing than eating. Thanks for being such wonderful friends and neighbors. If we can do anything to help you, please let us know. We love you and are praying for you during this time. Love, Kathreen and Doug.

--Doug and Kathreen Scott (Fayetteville, GA), June 20, 2006

Marilynn, I'm saddened to hear of Richard's passing. It was July of 1991 when I first learned of Hatcher's Mango Hill after reading an article in the Palm Beach Post. Since then, I have made the annual summer trek up the hill to get my share of Hatcher mangoes for the year. It's a wonderful legacy that the Hatcher family has left for the rest of us to enjoy. I will treasure the Hatcher tree I have in my back yard, and I feel that Richard will be looking down to make sure that I take care of it well. Marilyn, God bless you and your family.

--Larry Grosser (West Palm Beach, FL), June 12, 2006

I always enjoyed Dick - he made us laugh and will be missed, I know not only by his family but those who came in contact with him. I glad I knew him and will be remembering Marilyn and the family in prayer. Love, Linda

--Linda Painter (Big Pine Key, FL), June 12, 2006

Dear Aunt Marilynn, I want you to know, that we are thinking about you in North Carolina. You are in my prayers. I will always remember going to Mango Hill and how Uncle Dick helped me pick mangos. I will always remember his kindness and how he liked to tell stories. I am very sorry for your loss. I know you will miss him very much and I will too. LOVE, Natalie

--Natalie Riches (Cary, NC), June 11, 2006

Marilynn, I am so sorry to hear about Richard's passing. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.

--Brad Willis and Miriam (Starks) Willis (Casselberry, FL), June 27, 2006

Dear Mrs. Hatcher, we are so sorry for the loss of your wonderful husband. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you.

--Dee and Marty Zlatic (Boynton Beach, FL), June 21,2006


Marilynn, just a note to say I'll be there ... if at all possible.  I may not make it until Tuesday, but I'll be there.  Let me share a little of your grief.  Dick was one of the finest people I know.  And I suspect he has more friends than anybody else I know.  I know, too, I will meet many of his friends I haven't seen in 55 years.  That is mind boggling!  We will all share your grief.  But when I think of Dick, I have to smile.  Dick always had a smile and a story for everyone.  That's the way I'll always remember him.  He will be missed by all who have crossed his path through the years. Marilynn, peace.  Aloha, Russ.

--Russ Painter (Honokaa, Hawaii), June 9, 2006

Marilynn, my deepest sympathy to you and your family on the passing of Uncle Dick.  I have so many wonderful memories of Dick telling jokes and his wonderful laugh.  I remember a story he told years ago about going to fix one of the kids cars.  He was going thru airport security with his tools and he saw the radar scan look like a gun.  Needless to say the agents got excited.  I remember this story every time I go thru security.  Love,

--Greg Painter (University Place, WA), June 31, 2006

Dear Marilynn, it's so sad that your guy is no longer with you.  There can't be a soul who won't miss him as he was a great guy.  I'm so glad that we had the time together that we did - wish there'd been more.  Our son, Randy, grandson, Tayler and Herb, our friend, all remember you from deer camp and all sad to hear Dick's gone.  That was quite a memorable time for us to have shared our "passion" with ones so dear to us.  Please give my sympathy to the kids on the loss of their daddy and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.  My deepest sympathy,  

--Barbara (Rhinehart) Jerome (Hillsboro, OR), June 13, 2006

Marilynn, we were so sorry to hear about Dick.  I just talked to a man at church a couple weeks ago that said he remembered Dick.  Can you imagine being up here in North Alabama and running into someone that graduated from Lake Worth High School!  His name is Jim Leggett, I think he said he graduated in '50 or '51.  It's a small world isn't it? 

--Jo Ellen (Britton) and Nick Nichols (Rogersville, AL), June 14, 2006

Sorry to hear that Dick has passed away.  Dick was always an inspector that I had respect for at Eastern.   I enjoyed working with him after we retired. 

--Ray Hancock (Fayetteville, GA), June 21, 2006

Marilynn, someone much smarter than me once said no matter what happens to you in life the one thing they cannot take from you are your good memories.  Although I know you and your family have many more of Dick than we do I treasure the great memories I have of my old buddy.  I will miss him very much.  He was lucky to have a beautiful person like you by his side all these years.  Stay strong.  We love you, 

--Roland and Flossie Gomez (Palm Coast, FL), June 10, 2006 

Dear Aunt Marilynn, I am sad that families can't always spend more times together, live near each other and all merge into one big family.  I guess that is what Heaven is like, as Dick must now know.  I'm sad I didn't get more chances to get to know Dick in my adult years and not just as a one-of-a-kind, funny uncle that people young and old loved to be around.  But because of Christ's sacrifice and gift, I do expect that it won't be long until I can - my life will go by fast, and then I'll join my real, big family forever.  With appreciation for the smiles he gave to me, a temporary goodbye for now Uncle Dick (or if I were still ten years old, "Aunt Dick" for having called me "boy").  Love,

--Bonita (Painter) Yinger (Mechanicsburg, PA), June 12, 2006

Dear Aunt Marilynn, I am so sorry to hear about Uncle Dick.  I know what you and your family are going through right now and I know no words can make it better.  I just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you all.  Uncle Dick was one of my favorites!  My earliest memory of him is when our families met up at DisneyWorld in the 70's.  I remember him sitting on the deck at Mom and Dad's house telling stories and making jokes.  He always made me laugh!  I remember our camping trip with Grandma up in the Pacific Northwest in a camper van - he was great fun.  I'm sorry I couldn't be there for the service, I'm sure it was nice.  Please say "hello" to all the cousins and again, my thoughts are with you all.  Love,

--Cheryl (Painter) Casella (Forrest, ACT 2603, Australia), June 21, 2006

Dear Marilynn, I am sorry I was out of town and unable to attend Richard's services.  I know there is nothing I can say to ease the pain of your loss except my prayers are with you and your family.  Richard was a kind, caring person and a special member of The Class of '48. 

--Char (Finch) Macon (Atlantis, FL), June 29, 2006

Dear Marilynn, What a nice tribute to Dick. He was such a great guy and always had something funny to say.  My sister, Jeannine and I use to ride the school bus in Lantana, we would be picked up first and then we would make the rounds and pick Dick up.  He and some of the other boys would get to wrestling then put off the bus by the driver, Mrs. Barnes, and they would have to walk all the way in from Military Trail or get to school the best way they knew how. I was a little younger and it made a believer out of me. I sat still the whole way. We talked about it a few years ago and had a good laugh. I know your heart is aching and our prayers are with you. We love you.

 --Dennis & Doris Dorsey (Atlantis, FL) July 6, 2006

He was my Dad and I loved him very much.  I will miss him, but he will not be forgotten.  I will always remember his wonderful sense of humor, and his loyalty to all his family and friends.  He was always there for me.  He gave me so many gifts that will be carried on in my life and hopefully passed on to future generations.  The ability to laugh in the face of adversity (and anything else for that matter), a good work ethic, and the importance of not only being there for your family and friends, but pitching in and helping out.  That was my Dad.

--Sharie (Hatcher) Ypsilanti (Bronxville, NY), July 6, 2006

(Before Dick's funeral service began the Hatcher family received a beautiful framed verse of  "The Lord's Prayer"  with the following message to Dick written on the back). "6/13/06  Happy Birthday Hatch!  Celebrate this one with the angels.  We miss you and think of you often.  Our deepest sympathy and prayers goes out to your family.    Love, Bruce and Phyllis" 

--Bruce and Phyllis Weaver (Kissimmee, FL), June 13, 2006

The Weaver's were unaware that at the close of Dick's funeral service "The Lord's Prayer"  would be beautifully sung by Rev. Art Ortiz.  He also brought tears to everyone's eyes when he sang "Take my Hand, Precious Lord"  and  "You are the Wind beneath my Wings".   There are a few of us that also remember way back on July 16th, 1954, when little 6 year old Donna (Hatcher) Huck sang  "The Lord's Prayer"  at our wedding.  She sounded like a little angel singing that day for her Uncle Richard and his new bride. 

--Marilynn Hatcher (Lantana, FL), July 7, 2006

Dear Grandma, one of the things I'll always remember about Grandaddy was his sense of humor.  I'll never forget all the good times I had with Grandaddy when I was younger. Like when we always used to tell jokes on the phone, and talk with funny voices. It was so much fun when we came to visit you and Grandaddy, we would go for rides in the golf cart and pick mangoes. It was pretty funny back then because we both had pot bellies. I'll miss him very much.  Love,

--Evan Ypsilanti (Bronxville, NY), July 11, 2006

My Dad was one in a million!  He always took time to show how much he cared for each and every one of us, even when working the midnight shift, or double shifts.  He had such a heart of gold – he took in a total of 4 boys in need over the years, even though he had 4 children of his own to raise. He was a humble man, and enjoyed the simple things in life like family, friends, and a great meal with a few good jokes. He was strong, and honest, and kept his word.  He taught me a lot by the way he lived his life. He was quite a character, and I will remember all the good times we had.  I miss him so much!   

--Kathleen (Hatcher) Zeitler (Lantana, FL), July 11, 2006

The Psalmist says the man will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water.

It would be foolish on my part to pretend to know as much about trees as Richard and Marilynn. But let me use this metaphor of “tree” – fully aware that poetry and prose are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.

A tree – whether young or old – promises fruit in its season. A fruit tree that does not produce fruit, Jesus said, was good as cursed. Once Jesus came by a fig tree with no figs. He hesitated not a second to curse it. A life has purpose in so far as it’s fruitful – whether tree or man.

Richard – like a faithful tree - produced fruit in and through his life. Fruit like family, friends, customers who turned into treasures of friends. (Like the fruit of grown men – some corporate executives – who recalled an optimist who taught them not only the creed but also how to catch and how to throw and how to bat).

A tree provides shade – a place under which to trade stories of life and weave our memories. Richard was the shade, a comfortable soul with whom you could share a yarn and even explore where on earth these Hatchers had come from. Whether in his home or at church, I always felt safe with Richard – safe and shaded by a giant mango.

Trees often are planted for protection – so daily winds will not blow away valuable top soil. You can see this especially in south Georgia as farmers have planted rows of tall trees to block the wind.

There’s so much that threatens our peace – our little world peace and security. But somehow you felt that Richard was a buffer to life’s adversities. To protect his family and friends, he would discount the hardship of a corporate failure and even dismiss the pain of disease. He wanted to protect his loved ones from that which would hurt the most.

Trees are difficult as to rootage. From my little reading, the mango puts down deep roots in order to uphold its wonderful and heavy fruit – especially the Hatcher mango. (By the way I never met a mango I liked until I met a Hatcher mango).

Back to roots: Richard’s roots were deep in family, but also in his faith in God. Richard epitomized Micah 6:8 (which many consider the essence of the Christian life):

"But He has already made it plain how to live, what to do. What God is looking for in men and women? It's quite simple: do what is fair and just to your neighbors. Be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.”

Richard Hatcher was like a tree!

--Dr. John Henry Hatcher at Memorial Service, June 13, 2006

A Poem For Dad

I cannot stand at your grave and cry.
You are not there, you did not die.
I see you in the plants that grow.
I remember many things you know.
I recognize you in my childrens' faces.
I feel your presence at special places.
Your jokes live on,  I have to smile,
I hope to laugh with you again in awhile.
Life goes fast, in the blink of an eye,
I'll find what happened when you did not die.
Until then, you'll be missed my friend.
Your life has changed, but it did not end.

--Sharie (Hatcher) Ypsilanti (Bronxville, NY), August 9, 2006


I remember when my grandpa was teaching me to drive the golf cart.  I would sit on his lap and he would control the gas and brakes and I would steer.  I must of hit 15 trees that day.  Now 8 years later I am more of a better driver.  And although the cart may be a little bent up it still gets the job done and gets you where you want to go.

         --Cody Zeitler (Lantana, FL), when he was 12 years old


LIFE is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road
To sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all are meant to learn some things,
But never meant to stay . . .
Our destination is a place
Far greater than we know.
For some, the journey's quicker,
For some, the journey's slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.



While attending Miami Lakes Elementary back in 1969 (first site of the Miami Lakes Optimist program) an announcement came over the loud speaker about signing up to play baseball at the "Optimist Club of Miami Lakes". With my parents' permission, little did I know then the many blessings in life to follow when Coach Hatcher drafted me to play for him. I was 11 years old and our team won the Bronco Division that year (ages 11-12). The next year we won our league again and I made the all-star team and we traveled to Coach Hatcher's hometown in Lake Worth to play. We won our first game against Jupiter. I remember celebrating at a pizza parlor in Lake Worth after the game. Those were the days! He taught me how to play the game he loved so much. For that I am eternally grateful. Later, while playing baseball in college, I contacted Coach Hatcher and he took the time to come watch me play a double header at Southern Tech in Georgia. I will always treasure my childhood and young adult memories of Coach Hatcher.

--Robert Meador (Miami Lakes, FL), August 2, 2015


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