Farewell Jim Hatfield . . . Good Friend, Teacher and Grand Encourager

July 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

My career was launched the year I took a high school photography class from a magnificent teacher, mentor and friend, Mr. James Hatfield. He genuinely cared for his students and majored in encouraging them personally. I cannot think of anyone who deserves more credit for my vocational choice. He was my favorite high school teacher, and I am not alone in saying so. 

I only learned of his passing this afternoon and my heart is deeply grieved over his departure. In honor of his memory, I am posting some of the key points of his obituary. 

Dec. 1, 1939 - Sept. 10, 2013
Resident of Santa Cruz
James Darwin Hatfield, a beloved 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 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 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.
Jim was 73 years old.

I love you, Jim!  Thank You!



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