Joseph "Jake" William Hatcher, 95, went to be with his beloved wife Adele on Nov. 13, 2013. Jake was born April 7, 1918, at home in Red Level, Fla. to the late Charles "Charlie" Dillon Hatcher and Lorelle Winn Hatcher. He grew up on the family farm traipsing the woods of Red Level. He got his first gun at the age of 8, and a pony about the same time. He left the one-room schoolhouse after eighth grade to help his daddy on the farm and then became a cowboy at Rhoda Cannon's cattle ranch. He spoke of herding cattle in woods so thick with yellow flies they drove the cows and horses crazy. He spoke of herding cows when there were no fences and the calf that went with the cow got the same brand or ear marks as its momma. He was a true woodsman and could still crack a whip into his 90s.
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He and some buddies enlisted in the Navy immediately after Pearl Harbor. He was in the war for the duration, first on the USS New York (BB-34) for the invasion of Africa, then he was transferred to the USS Monterey (CVL-26) departing Philadelphia for the western Pacific. He was very proud to have been a gunner and to have served under future President Gerald Ford while on the Monterey. At war's end, he was stationed at the San Francisco shipyards, where he met and married Adele "Dell" Dorothy Schweers in 1945. After his discharge from the Navy, he brought her back to his daddy's home in Red Level. Jake was very proud of being a fourth-generation Floridian and of his daddy's farm. He and Dell lived there and everywhere his cowboy and farming took him around Citrus and Marion County. One of his most beloved places was the Flying "S" Ranch. There he ranched, farmed, hunted, fished and raised a family. Despite being severely injured and disabled in an accident on the ranch in 1959, he was still passionate about the outdoors and farming.
He was a storyteller of the highest caliber and enthralled everyone, young and old, with his tales of growing up in Florida. Even the most rowdy incarnation of the young Daniel Boone was quieted as Jake told stories of county life, surviving the Depression, being a cowboy, sailor, farmer, rancher, fisherman and lifelong hunter with a pack of hounds. History came alive, and his love of county life was instilled in the heart of the listener. At the age of 93, he sat alone in the woods, sitting in his walker backed up to a tree, to kill his last deer.
He is preceded in death by his five sisters; his wife of 66 years; and his son, Jeffrey Dillon Hatcher.
He is survived by his aunt Ethel Winn; two daughters, Lorelle Joan Hatcher Blackwell (Michael) and Rebecca Nancy Hatcher-Folk (Mark); and his son Jeff's three children, Owen, father to great-granddaughters Emma and Madeleine, Andrew Hatcher (Jenifer), and Kelly Hatcher, mother to great-granddaughter Margret; and a very large extended family.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at the First United Methodist Church of Dunnellon, 21501 W. Highway 40, followed by coffee, cake and storytelling at the church's Friendship Hall. A brief graveside service will be at 12 p.m. at Red Level Cemetery, West Lancelot Court, Citrus County.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to First United Methodist Church Harmony Preschool, 21501 W. Highway 40, Dunnellon, FL 34431, or Dunnellon Christian Academy, 20831 Powell Road, Dunnellon, FL 34431, or The Wildlife Foundation of Florida, 800-988-4889.
Expressions of Sympathy can be made online to robertsofdunnellon.com.
Arrangements are under the careful direction of Roberts Funeral Home of Dunnellon.
Roberts Funeral Home And Crematory Of Dunnellon Inc
19939 E Pennsylvania Ave Dunnellon, FL 34432
Published in Citrus County Chronicle from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, 2013