Ansley W. Hatch, 97, of Maple Park, recently passed away at his home, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family, on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.
He was born May 9, 1915, the son of H. Wallace and Hazel A. (Quackenbush) Hatch on the family farm near Morrison, Ill.
When Ansley was only a month old, the family moved to several places to find their roots, and finally found a home in the community of St. Charles, where Ansley attended and graduated from St. Charles High School with the class of 1933.
Ansley attended North Central College from 1933 to 1937. Following graduation, he worked locally for a time at various jobs.
Ansley was united in marriage to Catherine Modine on April 8, 1939. They began their new life together in Hampshire, Ill. Catherine made their house a home and raised a family, while Ansley worked for Standard Oil Company as an agent delivering oil to local communities.
In 1943, Ansley enlisted into the United States Navy and served his country in the South West Pacific during World War II as a junior officer in charge of decoding messages. At 2 a.m. one particular evening, Ansley was given a decoded message to file away, but upon closer inspection, he realized it contained the coordinates of two kamikaze submarines that he determined were only 75 miles away and heading straight toward them. Instead of filing the message as he was ordered, he woke up the Admiral, who immediately sent planes to seek and destroy, which they did, saving hundreds of lives directly because of Ansley’s foresight and courage.
Upon his return to civilian life, Ansley began working for Burgess-Norton in Geneva. He retired 32 years later in 1983. Following his retirement, he pursued his love of golf by working at Hughes Creek as a ranger starter, and up until age 95, he enjoyed working with Meals on Wheels for the Salvation Army following Catherine’s passing in 2002.
Ansley and his family were faithful members of Grace Lutheran Church in Lily Lake for many years.
Ansley loved spending as much time on the links as possible, many times in the company of his grandchildren while trying to pass on “the fever.” He began as a caddie when he was 10 years old, carrying the clubs for members of the St. Charles Country Club. He even went so far as to shorten clubs just for his grandchildren. However, to his chagrin, nobody ever took up his favorite pastime.
Ansley also loved to fish and make memories with every cast, trying to land the big one on any lake or river he could find, especially those in Minnesota.
One pastime that did catch on was baking different cookies, especially “Joe Froggies,” a chewy cookie that were “great keepers” made with rum and molasses. His garden was a kingdom, stretching 70 feet wide and 80 feet long, which didn’t sound big until you had to weed it. Its harvest of strawberries, horse radish, asparagus and raspberries were enjoyed by family and friends all year round.
When it came to sports, Ansley loved all of them, especially the Chicago White Sox, Blackhawks and the Bears. However, his greatest love was his family, especially his grandchildren and all their activities that filled up the calendar. And those activities were on top of his involvement in the church.
Ansley leaves three children, Sheila C. (Woody) Lange and their children, Warren, Travis and Autumn; Steven (Loretta) Hatch and their children, Ryan and Larissa; and Pierre Hatch and his children, Natalie and Carmella, all of Maple Park; one sister, Ruth Gaston of Leaf River, Ill.; two brothers, Gordon Hatch of Oregon, Ill., and Bruce (Vernelle) Hatch of Lake Crystal, Minn.; several nieces and nephews, and a countryside of friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his loving wife, Catherine; two brothers, Jack and Warner Hatch; and one son, Warren M. Hatch.
Visitation was held on Friday at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. There was an additional visitation held on Saturday, at Grace Lutheran Church, Lily Lake. A funeral service to celebrate his life followed visitation. Rev. Ernst Rex, pastor of the church, officiated. Interment was held at Lily Lake Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Ansley’s name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Ansley Hatch Memorial” and mailed to P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.