Cover photo for James D. Hatfield's Obituary
James D. Hatfield Profile Photo
1939 James 2013

James D. Hatfield

December 1, 1939 — September 10, 2013

James D. Hatfield, 73, of Santa Cruz, CA formerly of Ellendale, ND died September 10, 2013 at his home. A memorial service is 3pm Saturday, July 19, 2014 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Ellendale with Pastor Galen Sylvester officiating. Visitation is one hour prior to services. Burial is at Ellendale City Cemetery. Arrangements by Hoven Funeral Chapel, Ellendale. James Darwin Hatfield, a beloved Saratoga high-school math and photography teacher, led a rich and active life. Born in Ellendale, ND, he moved with his mother to California when he was 15 years old. He graduated from San Jose State University where he met his wife of 51 years, Kathy. Jim’s true passion was photography. While he was teaching, he made time for trips to Central and South America as the photographer for a group of doctors doing volunteer surgeries, as well as chaperoning groups of students to Europe on photography expeditions. He was also a prolific wedding, school, and youth sports photographer. While at home, he spent time making home brew, keeping bees, and researching his family genealogy. He had a great love of cats, particularly Sam, whom he called ‘my buddy’. Jim was an avid golfer and played many rounds with his father-in-law, Marion and son, John. He traveled to faraway places to golf including Scotland, Ireland, and Hawaii. Jim really hit his stride when he retired and began to travel for his own pleasure and understanding of other cultures. In the last 14 years, he made multiple trips to Europe, Asia, South America, and Cuba, taking pictures and sampling local beers along the way. In addition, he made 15 trips to Baja on the Green Tortoise, and seven times he dyed his hair pink for a week in order to fully experience the revelry of Burning Man. In Baja and Black Rock City he was known as ‘Diego’. He made nearly annual summertime visits to Ellendale to spend time with relatives and friends in the area. He and his wife traveled to Argentina, Peru, and Oaxaca to experience month-long Spanish immersion programs, and to Guatemala to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity. He was a loving father of three and grandfather of three. He died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family, in the home that he built in Santa Cruz more than 40 years ago. He is survived by his wife Kathy; his son John (Lisa); daughters Sarah Hatfield-Smith (Al) and Amy Hatfield; and grandchildren Austin and Emma Smith, and Yunji Hatfield. He is also survived by his sisters Darlene Eaton and Peggy Petersen; half-sister Nancy Lynn Gipson; his Aunt Betty Haberman, and several cousins in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska.
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