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PEORIA - Gardner Norris Hatch passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice in Peoria, Ill. at the age of 83. He was born in Concord, Mass. on December 14, 1935, to George and Dorothy Hatch. He received his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in 1957 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
After graduation, he traveled to Peoria, Ill. in an old car and $30 in his pocket to start a trainee job at Caterpillar Tractor Co. It was in Peoria where he met and, in 1960, married Frances Wirth. Gardner enjoyed a 42-year career at Caterpillar, serving in various positions in sales development and marketing. His fulfilling career took him and his family around the world to Hong Kong and Geneva, Switzerland.
Gardner loved every day of his career, saying that happiness lies in finding a job that you love to do and getting paid for it. He also looked forward to spending time at his summer cottage in southern Maine, where he enjoyed long afternoons of sailing in the bay. Some of his greatest joy came from being surrounded by his children and grandchildren at family gatherings and holidays.
Gardner is survived by his wife, Frances; his brother George (Helen) Hatch of Kings Mountain, N.C. and sister Cynthia (Dr. Steven) Brueck of Albuquerque, N.M.; his sons Gardner (Lori) Hatch Jr. of Cottage Grove, Minn., Marcus (Corina) Hatch of Shorewood, Ill., Christopher Hatch of Peoria, Ill. and Justin (Sophie) Thacker of Lausanne, Switzerland; daughter Jennifer Pietila of Oceanside, Calif.; and 11 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, and niece Marjorie Wicks of Lincoln, Nebr.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff and excellent care he received at OSF St. Francis Medical Center and OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice. His family will take him home to his beloved childhood and adult summer home in Casco Bay, Maine, this summer, where a private celebration of life ceremony will be held with close family and friends. To share a memory or send a condolence for his family, visit www.masonfuneralhomes.com.