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Originally published Monday, August 25, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Obituary

Jerry Hatcher, 59, community volunteer, veteran

When he partied, he sent limos to gather his friends to share the fun. When he flew, it was first class. And when he went to war, he earned...

Seattle Times staff reporter

When he partied, he sent limos to gather his friends to share the fun. When he flew, it was first class. And when he went to war, he earned medals.

So it made sense that when Gerald Hatcher, 59, died, he passed on as he wanted to: at home, by the side of his longtime partner, Joe Krumbach. Mr. Hatcher died Aug. 17 of liver disease.

Born Sept. 21, 1948, in Portland, Mr. Hatcher grew up in Arcadia, Calif. He was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of sergeant and earning two purple hearts, a bronze star and a commendation for heroism for his service in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971.

Mr. Hatcher then moved to Seattle, where he worked for Canlis, parking cars to earn money while enrolled at the University of Washington. Smitten with the U District, he became a co-owner of Dante's Tavern on Roosevelt Way.

Later he became a serious painter of home interiors, but he didn't let work get in the way of his more than 15-year commitment to volunteering for community causes, especially the Chicken Soup Brigade, part of the Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

He had a host of nicknames, from Geraldine to Kitty Cat to Princess, but mostly Mr. Hatcher was known as kind.

"When you're moving, or you need a ride to the airport on a Friday afternoon, that is when you find out who your friends are," said Bill Staniford, of Seattle, a friend, avid racquetball partner and fellow Mariners fan. The two went to spring training together every year for more than a decade.

Mr. Hatcher shared his joy, no matter the source: When he proposed to Krumbach on Christmas Eve 2002, he stood on a chair at the Hunt Club at the Sorrento Hotel to receive the applause of the entire room as Krumbach said yes.

The two were together nearly 20 years, and the lack of a legal wedding made it no less profound a ceremony, Krumbach said. More than 200 friends and family members traveled from around the country and even overseas to attend.

The two loved to travel. They rode elephants through the jungles of Thailand, visited Versailles in France and the Vatican in Rome, lunched on a glacier in Alaska, and sipped cocktails in a dive bar in Puerto Vallarta. Their last trip together was from Miami to Seattle on a cruise ship.

As Mr. Hatcher's health deteriorated, Krumbach kept his promise to care for him at home, with the help of hospice and home-care workers. On his last day, Mr. Hatcher read the paper, watched some baseball and lay down for a nap — then was peacefully gone. "It was a good life," Krumbach said.

In addition to his partner, Mr. Hatcher is survived by his parents, Jim and Audrey Hatcher, of San Clemente, Calif.; brothers Mike, of Arcadia, and Terry, of Crestline, Calif.; and sister Lori Oldham, of Lake Forest, Calif.

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In lieu of flowers or other memorials, Krumbach asked for good thoughts and a hug and kiss for loved ones as the best gift to remember Jerry by.

A celebration of Mr. Hatcher's life is planned for September.

Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or lmapes@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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