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William H. Hatheway

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William H. Hatheway Obituary
Dr. William Howell Hatheway,

Professor Emeritus

Dr. William H. Hatheway died peacefully at the age of 89 on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at his Mercer Island home of 42 years. Born November 28, 1923, in Hartford, Conn., Bill grew up nearby in Litchfield, Connecticut.

A lifelong academic, he left home at the age of 13 to attend Andover Academy and, soon after, Yale University. He made his first trip to South America at age 17 to study Spanish, foretelling a career in that area of the world. Before completing his degree at Yale WWII called him to service and he served four years in the U.S. Army. Following the war he enrolled at the University of Chicago where he received a BS degree in mathematics with a minor in mathematical statistics in 1948. At Chicago, in addition to mathematics, he became interested in botany and biology, receiving his MS in botany in 1952. He pursued his passion for tropical plants at the University of Hawaii and Harvard University, where he earned a MF in forestry in 1953 and a PhD in biology in 1956. Bill received a John Parker Fellowship from Harvard in 1954.

Bill met his wife of 42 years, Merilyn, while completing his PhD studies in Cuba. They married in 1953. Bill and Merilyn moved to Medellin, Colombia, when Bill took a position as a statistician with The Rockefeller Foundation. There, in addition to his statistical work, he studied the biology of maize and corn. As a post-doc at North Carolina State University he studied experimental statistics and quantitative genetics from 1956 to 1957. Bill's three sons, Dave, Bob (Wendy) and Larry (Joan), were born in Colombia between 1956 and 1958. The family moved from Columbia to Mexico City in 1961 where they resided until 1964 as Bill continued his work with Rockefeller. From Mexico the family moved to Costa Rica where Bill joined the Organization for Tropical Studies as their Executive Director and where he continued his botany studies at the Tropical Science Center in San Jose.

Bill continued his teaching career at North Carolina State University when the family moved from Costa Rica to Raleigh in 1967. Then, in 1969, the University of Washington recruited Bill as a professor in the College of Forest Resources where he taught applied statistics and experimental design as professor of quantitative science until his retirement in 1986. His background and numerous scientific publications merged mathematics and tropical biology.

Following retirement and Merilyn's passing in 1995, Bill remained active in academics at the University of Washington, supporting Rose Ann Cattolico's Marine Molecular Biology Laboratory assisting graduate and post-graduate students. In addition, Bill created and funded the James and Marinelle Bethel Endowed Scholarship in honor of his friend and former CFR Dean, Dr. James Bethel.

He is survived by his brother Curtis (Virginia), his sister Lee Jordan (Paul), his three sons, six grandchildren, and dear friends Rose Ann Cattolico and her son, Toby.

He will be fondly remembered as a brilliant lifetime student and academic, a wonderful and caring teacher, a serious investor, a lover of all living things (especially plants), an expert in rhododendrons, and a most generous father, grandfather and friend.

A memorial service in celebration of Bill's life will be held on January 10, 2013 at 1:30 PM at the University of Washington, Anderson Hall Forest Club Room, 2nd floor, Seattle, Washington.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to The University of Washington Foundation. To make a donation, please make checks payable to the UW Foundation, 3718 Brooklyn Avenue NE, Box 355055, Seattle, WA 98195-5055. Please indicate "Bethel" in the memo line. (To make a gift online, visit http://bit.ly/jbethel.)
Published in The Seattle Times on Dec. 16, 2012
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