Richard L. Hatch, 91: Generous philanthropist left vast legacy

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TOPSHAM — Richard L. Hatch, 91, died November 18, 2009, at his Topsham home.

On Jan. 10, 1918, he was born in New York City, the son of Harold Hatch and Margaret Milliken Hatch.

He graduated from the Hotchkiss School and attended Yale University, graduating in 1941.

Over the years, he and his wife Rakia were generous benefactors of Maine Medical Center, establishing the Hatch Pavilion; Bowdoin College, establishing the Hatch Science Library; and were major donors to Yale University, Duke University and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Through the Margaret Milliken Hatch Charitable Trust, they also supported Maine Public Broadcasting for many years.

In 2005-2006 he made several large land donations that made a huge impact in the Phippsburg area. He donated 1,910 acres of land in Phippsburg to the Nature Conservancy, establishing The Basin Preserve; he donated land in Phippsburg to the state of Maine in order to enlarge the Winnegance and Cutting Creek preserves; and he gave a parcel of land to the town of Phippsburg to provide access to Center Pond. The total appraised value of these gifts exceeded $10 million.

In 2007 he was named the Maine Benefactor of the Year.  

Additionally, as a resident of Cundy’s Harbor, Harpswell, for more than 55 years, he developed the East Point and West Point areas of Cundy’s Harbor to minimize impact on the oceanfront environment.

He preferred to live a life of quiet generosity, always deliberately eschewing publicity and the limelight.

He was predeceased by his wife, Rakia I. Hatch, who died April 24, 2005.

Survivors include his two daughters, Sarah Rath of New Orleans, La., and Marjorie Curtsinger of Templeton, Calif.; three grandchildren, Anna Pinnolis of Long Beach, Calif., Ross Vera of San Mateo, Calif., and Carlos Vera of Venice, Calif.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010, at the Bowdoin College Chapel.

Memorial donations may be made to The Nature Conservancy in Maine, Fort Andross, P.O. Box 22, 14 Maine St., Suite 401, Brunswick, ME 04011.

Arrangements are by Demers-Desmond Funeral Home, 24 Cushing St., Brunswick.