October 20, 1926–April 5, 2021
Melvin Jay Hatch passed on to the next life at the age of 94, on Easter Monday, 2021. He was born in Winslow, Arizona, October 20, 1926, the fourth child of Ezra Ralph and Ida (Lewis) Hatch.
He grew up in Holbrook, Arizona, where even at a young age he was well-known for his artistic ability and his consuming interest in science.
After earning his BS in Chemistry from the University of Arizona, Melvin completed a PhD in Organic Chemistry at UCLA under the guidance of future Nobel laureate, Donald J. Cram. As a Research Scientist at Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan, Dr. Hatch’s work resulted in over 50 U.S. patents.
After 15 years in industry, he combined a growing interest in teaching with a desire to return to the Southwest when he accepted a professorship at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico.
His enthusiasm and desire to inspire future chemists, as well as his humor and geniality, made him a much loved professor.
Gifted with prolific creativity, Dr. Hatch continued to research advancements in polymer and ion exchange chemistry. At the age of 90, when one of his inventions was put into production, he used the patent royalties to endow a “Chemistry Pentathlon Prize” at New Mexico Tech, still desiring to encourage and support young chemists.
A lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he devoted countless hours of religious service and leadership within the Church’s lay ministry, serving as spiritual head of congregation (Bishop) for many years on 2 separate occasions, and filling many other church callings with devotion and dependability.
Melvin married the love of his life, Martha ReJune Stewart, in 1958 after a storybook courtship. He was a loving husband, a kind and benevolent father to their 3 children, and an ideal grandfather to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mel was known for his cheerful disposition and his wit and wisdom. His hands were always busy making and repairing whatever needed his touch, including counseling and blessing his family members.
He is preceded in death by his son James Murray Hatch and by Martha, his beloved wife.
He is survived by daughters Catherine Clark (Ted), Patricia Hatch (Benson Whittle, deceased) daughter-in-law RoseAnne Sanchez Hatch (Steve Norbut), 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
A funeral service for Melvin will be held on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 10:00 am, at the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1102 El Camino Real, Socorro, NM.
A private family interment will immediately follow at Terrace Grove Cemetery, Belen, New Mexico.
To view information or leave a condolence, please visit www.danielsfuneral.com. Melvin’s care has been entrusted to:
Daniels Family Funeral Services
309 Garfield St
Socorro, NM 87801