Robert “Bob” Bryden Hatch was born in Prince Albert, SK, on July 14, 1948, to William and Elizabeth May Hatch. He had two older sisters, Georgina and Florence, and a younger brother Gerald. He grew up in and around Shellbrook, SK.
When Bob was seventeen, he enlisted in the Armed Forces with the Princess Patricia Light Infantry as a mechanic. He was stationed at Lake-head, mountainous BC, and Calgary. There were numerous stories: involving a frozen side of his face at below-freezing temperatures, walking only a few yards between barracks and mess hall; a promotion that became a demotion the same day because he celebrated heartily enough that nobody could figure out how he ever got to the peak of the roof of the barracks, or how to get him back down without further damage; and a launched smokestack from an immersion heater that landed on the commander’s tent. He did not re-enlist.
If I were to ask any-one of you to describe Bob, almost all of you would describe him as very quiet. Yes, he was! In his early twenties, he was diagnosed having a middle ear conductivity loss that even surgery couldn’t fix. Over the years, this caused him to avoid any large gatherings. 4 to 6 people was doable; more was too many. This played a large role in his work career choices.
When Bob left the army, he spent several years in the taxi business as a dispatcher and driver/owner. One evening he was dispatching, he totally disregarded radio procedure when he thought he recognized a female voice in a car on his board. Beverley Haaf was driving that car. Curiosity and laughter started a good thing, and they joined forces in November of 1974. Together they raised 3 children: Lisa, Angela, and Ryan.
Bob worked a variety of jobs over the rest of his life, primarily outdoors and driving. Hobbies were mainly reading and craft projects. There was a time where he toured around a coal mine in Sparwood in a 100-ton truck and worked on an assembly line at Nobleford. Bob was an assistant manager at Fort MacLeod and Manager at UGG in Cluny. In Cluny, he belonged to the local fire department. Since they both lived in town, he and the Pool agent had a competition going. The one who got to the fire hall first got to drive the truck. At social functions, he would put in an appearance early on, then disappear until later when lunch was put out. As soon as it was cold enough, he would flood the local skating rink to build the ice. A combine pilot job late in the season led to the move to Silver Valley, AB in August 1988.
Bob enjoyed going to auction sales, where he could visit with multi-neighbours in the same day. Christmas concerts at the Mennonite Church were favourite occasions too.
Farming alone didn’t pay all the bills, so he got his class 1. He drove only western provinces and northern Territories with grain hoppers and flat-decks. When that chapter ended, he worked at the matt shop until his health failed, and he was limited to the smaller equipment at home. That riding mower was his favourite as long as he could.
Bob grew up in a home that never let a deck of cards be very far from anyone’s reach. Cribbage was most popular, with 400 and canasta close runners up. Bob seldom refused the chance to sit in on a game. Most summer holidays were spent visiting at his aunt’s place that bordered on a chain of three small but deep lakes. Camping, fishing and waterskiing were favoured activities.
He is survived by his brother; his wife; 3 children; 3 granddaughters; and 1 great-grandson.
Bob was predeceased by both parents and both older sisters.
Condolences may be sent by visiting www.oliversfuneralhome.com.