January 12, 1941 ~ April 12, 2020 (age 79)
In life and in death, Hathard Gatlin was the life of the party in every room he ever entered. Known for his great sense of humor and ability to tell a story, everyone loved to crowd around him to hear him spin a tale -- embellishments and all. His graveside service was held on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at Hillfield M.B. Church in Bolivar at 1:30 pm with Pastor Lawrence Pirtle serving as officiant. Dixie Funeral Home www.dixiefuneralhome.com was in charge of the professional service
Hathard was born on January 12, 1941 to Ulysses “Shack” Gatlin and Fannie (Beard) Gatlin, in Toone, TN where he was the sixth of nine children and the youngest of four sons. Hathard gave his life to Christ at age 12 and soon joined Hillfield Baptist Church along with his family. Hathard graduated from Allen White High School in 1959. After graduating high school, Hathard moved first to Nashville and later, to Chicago.
While working as a busboy in a downtown restaurant, he let a friend convince him to go on a double date with him and his girlfriend. On that blind date, Hathard met Bertha Jenkins, a tall, willowy young woman from the South Side of Chicago. Hathard was a good dancer as a young man and would take his future wife to “waistline parties” where the cover charge was based on the number of inches around the woman’s waist. “Your mom cost me 22 cents back then!”
Barely two years after meeting, the two would marry and soon their first child, Patrick, was born. The young family of three soon moved to Saginaw, Michigan where Hathard worked for General Motors, where he worked for 27 years before he retired. The pair had two more children - a son, Derrell, and a daughter, Latarsha.
The only thing Hathard loved more than cracking jokes (“I only make fun of people I like”), telling stories and taking long drives was the great outdoors. His love of the country was deeply rooted in him until his last days. His favorite thing to do was go hunting. It was not uncommon for there to be pheasant, squirrel, rabbit or deer on the table at the Gatlin household. The Gatlin children joke that they rarely invited friends over for dinner because of this.
Hathard will be remembered as a consummate storyteller with a personality and charm that was larger than life. His cherished memory will burn brighter than the stars and hotter than the sun.
He is survived by his three adult children: Patrick, Antioch TN; Derrell (Gwen), Murfreesboro TN, and Latarsha, Nottingham MD and his sisters: Irene Gatlin, Madison TN; Carley (Hank) Miller, Hermitage TN and Shirley (Milton) Davis, Jackson TN. He has five grandchildren -- Aaron McBride, Taylor Gatlin, Ryan Gatlin, Justin Johnson and Marcisa Bender - and one great grandson, Issac. He was beloved by his numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, cousins and friends.
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