Rose Blanche mourns loss of community volunteer

Brodie Thomas
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Every community has that one person who is involved with just about every organization and event.

Former mayor and active volunteer Wayne Hatcher passed away on May 24, 2012 at his home in Rose Blanche. He was 64.

In Rose Blanche-Harbour Le Cou, that person was Wayne Hatcher.

Now folks in that community are getting used to the idea of a town without Mr. Hatcher. He passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on May 24 at the age of 64.

“I often told him if he could get in the women’s lodge, he would’ve,” said long time friend and fellow Orange Lodge member Gordie Keeping.

Mr. Hatcher actually served on two lodges the Orange and the Black. He was master of the former and chaplain of the latter. He also took on most of the responsibility of the lodge building’s upkeep.

“He took care of everything,” said Mr. Keeping. “He set up the tables and chairs, and if he didn’t have help he did it himself. He looked after the water in the winter. He paid the bills and he ran the bingo games.”

The Friday-night bingo games were especially important to Mr. Hatcher, according to his friend. Mr. Keeping said Wayne wanted to make sure seniors in the community had a place to get together and socialize every week.

His work with the lodges was just one part of his volunteerism. Mr. Hatcher was also Harbour Master of Rose Blanche. He was the President of the Rose Blanche Lighthouse Committee. He was a founding member of the volunteer fire department and he was serving as s as the fire department’s secretary and treasurer at the time of his passing.

He served on town council for many years, including a stint as mayor from 1985-1989.

Lighthouse committee member Maxine Edwards said Mr. Hatcher’s commitment to his community was unwavering.

She said he never wanted to give up on anything and he wanted to see things through, even when others were ready to give up.

“In my mind he seemd to live by that old saying - it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice,” she said.

Friend and town clerk Tammy Farrell said Mr. Hatcher was given this year’s volunteer of the year award for the community shortly before he died.

“I had told him he had to come up to have his picture taken getting the award from the mayor,” said Mrs. Farrell, adding that he shrugged it off and never did stop in for the photo.

She said even when he wasn’t formally on a committee, he would help out at all sorts of public events.

More than anything, Mrs. Farrell said she will remember Mr. Hatcher’s sense of humour.

“Wayne was the type of fellow who was always full of mischief. He liked to play practical jokes on people. I never knew the man to be contrary or upset.”

She said the practical jokes were common on people’s birthdays.

“You would come home and there’d be a bag tied on your door. You wouldn’t know if you should open it or not. That’s just how he was - right full of fun.”

Mrs. Farrell said citizens have stepped forward to take on his roles for various organizations, but Mr. Keeping said it has been difficult to pick up where Mr. Hatcher left off at the Orange Lodge.

“We’re trying our best,” he said. “He wouldn’t want the lodge to go down. But he always told me it was the first place he joined and it would be the last he would give up.”

Geographic location: Rose Blanche

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