David Benjamin Hatfield, 88, passed away in his home at Pelican Pointe on Sept. 15 with his daughter Julie by his side.
David was born March 19, 1925, on his family's homestead in Tulelake, Calif., to William Harrison Hatfield and Zona Letitia Wilson Hatfield.
When he was 7 years old, his father was taken from the family in a tragic accident, leaving a young boy to chart a life's course without his father at his side.
He attended schools in Merrill and Tulelake during his youth. He trapped muskrats on the Lost River and the marshes of Tulelake, making money to help his mother and sisters make ends meet. He also worked on the farm of Ernest and Elfrida Treloar. These experiences became the first bricks of the foundation in building a young man.
With the permission of his mother, he enlisted in the Navy at age 17 in 1942. Around this time, his loving mother and sister Harriet moved to Oakland, Calif., where his mother took a position as a registered nurse. Like so many who enlisted in the war, David did so with the determination of a sled dog. His first ship was a destroyer escort sailing up and down the East Coast until joining the crew of the USS James O'Hara at the time it was commissioned to the Navy in 1943. He participated in seven major battles, transporting troops in the allied invasion of Italy and Sicily and moving on to the Pacific Theater and the Marianas for the invasions of Saipan, the Palaus, Leyte, Luzon and Iwo Jima. He was discharged in 1945, bringing home with him the pride of victory, but also the lifelong burdens that wars always leave with their veterans.
Returning to Tulelake, David took a job with Standard Oil as a fuel delivery truck driver. In 1951, he was requested to participate as one of 16 on the crew of the Vanderbilt yacht "Pioneer" for a six-month scientific expedition in the Pacific to collect tropical fish and birds (some never before discovered) for a Stanford University professor. The Pioneer, one of the largest sailing vessels in its day, also collected unique guests of the Vanderbilts, such as Lady Sylvia Ashley, also known as Mrs. Clark Gable.
Following the expedition, David returned to Standard Oil, now owned by Jack Clough. About this time, he was introduced to the love of his life, Shirley Mason, by Bill and Gen Alexander at Wong's Cafe. Following a courtship that included David's struggle with malaria, they were married on Oct. 25,1953, in Klamath Falls. They resided on the remains of the family homestead in Tulelake until 1964, when they purchased the Treloar Farm on Walsh Road, where David had previously worked as a young boy, and raised their children. There he farmed a small amount of acreage and milked cows, providing milk to local customers.
While David was asked to play taps on his Navy bugle at services over the years, his children remember him playing taps in the evenings, calmly calling his dairy cows to the barn for milking.
As devoted as he was to his family, he was also devoted to the Clough family, working for Jack Clough and Clough Oil until Ed took over the family business in 1978, and later his son Jim until 2008. David drove a truck, delivering fuel for family farms until 1993, when he became a lubricant engineer until his full retirement in 2008. He loved working for Cloughs and providing the service they had come to expect of him for 58 years. He thoroughly enjoyed the service he provided to the mills and machine businesses of the Klamath Basin, as well as the many friends he met at each business and farm he served.
While David and Shirley raised their family, they were members of the Presbyterian Church in Tulelake for over 50 years and the Mariners group that engaged in numerous family outings. Family adventures with the Mariners, such as going to the woods to cut Christmas trees and camping at Medicine Lake, provided storied memories that have endured.
David believed everything a man did in life should be filled with purpose. This meant that his days were planned and deliberate. Delivering fuel, milking cows in the early morning and at night, farming grain and alfalfa, raising a family, and being an active member in his church and Kiwanis; all these left little time for him to pursue personal hobbies. Still, he found time to enjoy motorcycles and was quite happy to saddle up on his full-dressed Harley-Davidson to feel the wind in his face. He loved to read, particularly biographies, history and poetry. After full retirement from working life, he dabbled with wood carving and enjoyed working with various woods to create simple, yet lasting carvings that depicted life through his eyes. All of these pursuits helped keep his mind sharp and his carving tools the sharpest they could be.
In later years, David and Shirley traveled the United States and Canada, as well as many countries of Europe, and visited the English nephew of the Treloars. Their travels always included fine hotels, fine foods and, as David would say, "We had a fine time."
David was preceded in death by his beloved wife Shirley Anne, his parents and all of his siblings.
He is survived by his children, Julie Schaffer (Gary), David, Jr. (Eulalie), Elizabeth Scott Lazorko (Don) and Joan Cole (Ron); special relative, Mark Scott; grandchildren, Allen and Nick Scott (Natalie) and Lily and Ethan Cole; great-grandchildren, Miles and Clayton Scott; many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews, Donelle, Jean, JD, Penny, Karen, Kent and Richard.
As his family, we are very thankful for the loving care he received from the staff and residents at Pelican Pointe, his most recent caregivers Judy Evans and Julie Mast, who showed him such love and respect, and his many thoughtful friends there.
Friends and family are invited to share in his memorial 11 a.m. Oct. 19 in Tulelake Community Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Tulelake Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 306, or Tulelake Community Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 760, 96134.
Dad, we love you and miss you and Mom every day. Thank you.
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