Dr. Weldon Hatcher departed this earth the morning of September 12 at the age of 81, after a long and difficult struggle with Parkinson’s. He is preceded in death by his father, Lewis Hatcher and mother, Edna Hatcher, of Heber Springs, Ark.; his son, Gary Hatcher of Haughton; his first wife, Betty Hatcher; and son-in-law, Ralph Payne.
He is survived by his loving wife, Joyce Hatcher of Ridgeland, Miss.; his daughter, Donna Payne of Minden; his son, Jim Hatcher of Plain Dealing; granddaughters, Ashley Davis and her husband, Clint Davis, Catherine Payne and Laura Payne; and his sister, Esther Smith of Omaha, Neb.
He completed his undergraduate studies at David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tenn., and Harding College in Searcy, Ark., and received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Between his undergraduate and graduate work, he served in the United States Air Force.
He was a minister of the Church of Christ, over the years preaching at churches in Plain Dealing, Blanchard and Hattiesburg and Ellisville in Mississippi. He was also a campus minister at LSU, Baton Rouge, and at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and served as a voluntary chaplain at Sunnybrook Estates in Madison, Miss. He most recently was a psychologist at the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield, and previously was the Director of Evergreen Presbyterian Vocational School in Minden. Weldon had also been the director of two children homes in the past, Southern Christian Home in Morrilton, Ark., and Sunnybrook Children’s home in Madison, Miss.
Weldon devoted all of his personal and professional life to providing emotional and spiritual aid and direction to underprivileged and mentally and emotionally challenged youth and adults. The grateful recipient of a heart transplant in 1998, he then developed Parkinson’s in 2006, which finally took him from us. Weldon was a gentle and caring man, who always thought of others more than himself. His graceful smile and sweet disposition will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.
Weldon was interred September 15 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Plain Dealing. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either Friends of Mississippi State Hospital, PO Box 157A, Whitfield, MS., 39153, or MADCAAP, PO Box 127, Canton MS, 39046.