Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Robert 'Bob' Hatfield


November 2, 2017

Robert “Bob” George Hatfield, 90, passed away on Oct. 18, 2017, at Kalispell Regional Medical Center, following the effects of a fall at his home.

Bob was born on Jan. 13, 1927, in Thermopolis, Wyo., to William and Cora Hatfield.

After graduating from Thermopolis High School in 1945, he promptly served in the Army in World War II and in South Korea until 1947. Then he attended college in Bozeman and Laramie, Wyo., studying agronomy, and playing NCAA basketball and billiards.

His career path led him into teaching elementary students at Peterson School in Kalispell and schools in San Jose, Calif., for 30 years.

In 1952, he met Sally Waller on a blind date in Casper, Wyo., and they were married in 1953 at Sally’s childhood home in Kalispell. Bob worked in a grocery store, shoe sales, insurance, and as a tennis coach at Linderman School until he settled into teaching. In 1961, they moved to San Jose with their children Cindy and Mark. After retirement in 1989, Bob and Sally moved back to Kalispell.

Bob’s passion was serving others through Meals on Wheels, selling tickets for the Rollins buffalo feed fundraisers and volunteering as a docent at the Museum at Central School to share his knowledge of Sally’s grandfather, Frank B. Linderman, whose contribution to Montana history was recorded in literature, sculpture and associations with various Native American groups in the region.

In 2002, Bob was recognized as Senior Citizen of the Year for his volunteering and service with the Meals on Wheels program. He was able to meet many people who were elderly or recovering from illness and he would return and give them a “bookay” of dead flowers and twigs in vases he’d buy from the Salvation Army. He would include cards that were written on cereal box front covers, often signing names of the person’s favorite politician or sports heroes, and writing an encouraging message.

He wrote to over 40 friends and former students on birch bark, telling people there was a paper shortage in Montana and, while his son Mark’s students wrote letters to animal characters from the Linderman books, Bob would write back to the children as the chipmunk’s great-grandfather, Stumpy III.

Bob had an uplifting personality and seemed to know everyone or he would make a friend quickly. He had a loving personality, teased or joked and, most importantly, made others feel appreciated.

He enjoyed spending his summers at the Linderman cabin at Flathead Lake, working in the woods, resting on the porch, or fellowshipping with family and friends at nightly beach fires.

Bob is survived by his daughter, Cindy Farnsworth; son, Mark (Terri) Hatfield; and grandchildren, Mason and Megan Farnsworth and Brayden and Riley Hatfield.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Sally; brother, William Hatfield; and granddaughter Breanna Hatfield.

Services were held on Oct. 26, in Kalispell. Interment with military and Masonic honors at C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery.

Donations in Bob’s memory may be given to the Museum at Central School, Meals on Wheels, the Kalispell Fire Department or Rollins Community Center.


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