Dr. Weldon Hatcher departed this earth the morning of Sept. 12 at the age of 81, after a long and difficult struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He is preceded in death by his father, Lewis C. Hatcher, and mother, Edna Cope Hatcher, of Heber Springs, Ark., his son Gary Norris Hatcher of Haughton, La., his first wife Betty Norris Hatcher, and son-in-law Ralph Payne.
Hatcher (PHOTO PROVIDED)
He is survived by his loving wife Joyce Hardcastle Hatcher of Ridgeland, Miss., his daughter Donna Hatcher Payne of Minden, La., his son Jim Weldon Hatcher of Plain Dealing, La., granddaughters Ashley Davis and her husband Clint Davis, Catherin Payne and Laura Payne, and his sister Esther Hatcher Smith of Omaha, Neb.
He completed his undergraduate studies at David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tenn., and Harding College in Searcy, Ark., and received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Between his undergraduate and graduate work, he served in the United States Air Force.
He was a minister for the Church of Christ and preached at churches in Plain Dealing and Blanchard in Louisiana and Hattiesburg and Ellisville in Mississippi. He was also a campus minister at LSU, Baton Rouge, and at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
He served as psychologist at the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield and also as a voluntary chaplain at Sunnybrook Estates in Madison, Miss.
Weldon had been the director of several children homes in the past: Evergreen Presbyterian Vocational School in Minden, La., Southern Christian Home in Morrilton, Ark., and Sunnybrook Children’s Home in Madison, Miss.
Weldon devoted all of his personal and professional life to providing emotional and spiritual aid and direction to underprivileged and mentally and emotionally challenged youth and adults.
The grateful recipient of a heart transplant in 1998, becoming one of the longest-surviving heart transplant patients, Weldon then developed Parkinson’s in 2006, which finally took him from us.
Weldon was a gentle and caring man who always thought of others more than himself. His graceful smile and sweet disposition will be greatly missed by all those he touched.