Lee Wills Hatch, Jr. was born in Auburn, New York, July 5, 1943, to Lee Wills Hatch and Louise Margaret Hardy Hatch. He lived on the Hatch family farm in Owasco, New York and attended early grades at The Octagon one room schoolhouse and later, elementary school in Skaneateles, NY.The family moved to Turlock in the summer of 1959. Lee became acquainted with Gary Hartvickson and embarked on a lifelong adventure of friendship and brotherhood. Lee attended Turlock High School where he made many friends, played for the Bulldog football team and was a distinguished wrestler. He graduated in 1961. Lee attended Modesto Junior College and continued his successful wrestling career.
As a teen and young adult, Lee had many jobs, including Armour Foods and Valley Fresh. He eventually began working at V & S Manufacturing, where the late Henry Volk was not only his employer but his mentor & very dear friend. It was with his encouragement that Lee discovered his ingenuity in the manufacturing world. With Henry’s blessing, Lee became the founder of Chaparral Manufacturing. His brilliance and expertise lead to the fabrication and manufacturing of many products used widely in vineyard, orchard and ag related businesses across the country for nearly 40 years.
In the early 70’s, Lee was reunited with his love for racing pigeons, known as “the thoroughbreds of the sky.” He became a proud member of the Golden State Flyers Racing Club, founded in 1977. His loft has been home to many birds of distinguished pedigree, taking much pride over the years in raising birds worthy of competition.Lee’s lifelong love was travelling the river banks, lakes and mountains across the country to hunt and fish, taking trips with friends and making countless memories he loved to share. Lee has taken part in local clubs and organizations such as Turlock Ag Boosters, Turlock Horseman’s Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Duck’s Unlimited to name a few. He supported 4-H and FFA, not only for his children and grandchildren but for others in the community as well. Lee is survived by his loving wife, Joan Anderson Hatch; his sister, Peggy Hatch St George (Cecil Oxford) of Sequim, WA; three daughters, Tracy Cockrell and Shelley Hatch of Turlock and Monica Burgess of Hilmar; and for 14 years, three sons, Christopher (Melissa), Timothy (Stephanie), and Andrew (Melissa) Macaulay-Robinson, all of WA State. He was a loving Papa to twelve grandchildren: Rowdy, Frankie, Mariah, Breshelle, Travis, Cooper, Dakota, Preston, Whitlee, Ava, Emma and Oliver. Lee also leaves behind numerous cousins in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and California.A visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. A funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. All services will be held at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock. Following the funeral service, Lee will be laid to rest at Turlock Memorial Park.For further information please visit, www.turlockfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Lee-Hatch/.