A former local dentist, devoted Rotarian and Navy veteran passes away

BRISTOL, Tenn. - A former local dentist, devoted Rotarian and Navy veteran passed away this week at the age of 85.

Edgar Claude Hatcher, Jr. died on February 13 , 2014 surrounded by his family.

He was born on June 1, 1928 to Edgar Claude and Lula Belle Feathers Hatcher.

He was a beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather and a friend to all.

He graduated from Bluff City High School in 1946, entered the United States Navy that same year, and was honorably discharged in 1948.

Hatcher attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) and graduated from the Medical College of Virginia with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in June 1955.

He married the love of his life, Shirley Jo Ann Spencer, in 1951 and was a dentist in Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee for 33 years.

Hatcher was active in many professional organizations, including the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists, American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, Academy of General Dentistry and the American Association of Dental Editors.

He was the Editor of the Journal of the Tennessee Dental Association for 15 years and received the William J. Gies Editorial Award for outstanding national editorial writing in 1985.

He also received the Golden Pen Award from the International College of Dentists in 1986 for outstanding writing.

He was involved in Tennessee health care by serving as the first President of ARCHA (Appalachian Regional Council for Health Advancement) in 1972.

After 20 years of service, the Edgar C. Hatcher Jr. DDS Award was created by ARCHA to honor individual excellent volunteer service.

He served on the committee which was successful in establishing the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University.

He was the first President of the Health Systems Governing Agency for the 6th Virginia and 1st Tennessee districts.

He was appointed a member of the Tennessee Statewide Coordinating Council by Gov. Lamar Alexander in 1981.

He was named a Health Care Hero of Northwest Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in 2002.

Hatcher served on the Wellmont Health System Board of Directors and the Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center Board of Directors.

A Rotarian since 1958, Ed devoted his energies after retirement to work with Rotary International (RI).

He served as President of the Bristol Rotary Club, District Governor of Rotary area 7570, RI training leader, and RI Institute chairman.

He served as a Director, Rotary International from 1996-98, one of 17 worldwide.

Hatcher was the recipient of RI's Service Above Self Award, The Rotary Foundation's Citation for Meritorious Service Award and its Distinguished Service Award.

With help from the Bristol Rotary, RI and the local medical community, Ed established a dental and medical clinic in Quezon City, Philippines and a 75 bed hospital in Jessore, Bangladesh. It was one of his proudest achievements.

He also was personally involved in RI's polio eradication efforts in India, Bangledesh and Ethiopia. He led Rotary Group Study Exchanges to the Philippines and the first ever to China. He was a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary.

He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Han Nam University, Taejon, Korea in 1990 for his humanitarian efforts.

He was a Board member of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, United Way, American Heart Association and on the Salvation Army Advisory Board. 

He was a devoted member of First Presbyterian Church of Bristol, serving as deacon and elder.

He was on the Board of Trustees of King College and the Board of Visitors of Virginia Intermont College. Hatcher was on the Board of Directors of Bank of Virginia and BMS Children's Charities.

Ed was an avid outdoorsman, and he enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, boating, hiking and golf. He set the course record at Bristol Country Club, shooting a 63 on May 28, 1969. He was an excellent photographer with his photography of Tibet (1981) being exhibited in the Far Eastern Section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His passion was travel, and he visited all 50 states as well as over 100 countries.

His family was the most important part of his life. He was predeceased by mother Lula Belle Hatcher and father and stepmother, Edgar and Edith Maiden Hatcher, and survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Jo Ann. Also surviving are his three adored daughters, Patricia (William) Argabrite of Kingsport, Sharon Elaine Hatcher of Bristol, and Dr. Janet (John) Rice of Bristol, brother William (Robin) Hatcher of Abingdon, Va., sister Doris Jean (Mickey) Tyler of Abingdon, Va., brother-in-law Bruce (Connie) Chiddister of Boulder, CO, grandchildren, Wes (Katie) Argabrite of Kingsport, Alyson Argabrite of Johnson City, Josephine Russell of Richmond, Va., John (Veronica) Rice, Jr. of Bristol, Nealon Rice of Buffalo, NY, Tegan Rice of Asheville, NC , and Regina Rice of Bristol, nephew Christopher Hatcher of Abingdon, Va., niece Caitlin Hatcher of Johnson City, and special cousin C. W. (Dondra) Hatcher, Jr. of Bristol.

The funeral services will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Bristol on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 at 4pm.  A reception and visitation will be afterward in the Fellowship Hall. A Graveside services and burial will be held at Weaver Cemetery Bristol, TN on Monday at 11am.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to First Presbyterian Church, Bristol, TN,  Grandfather Home for Children, Banner Elk, NC, or the Rotary Foundation.

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