On Thursday, April 8, Francis W. Hatch, a founding Board Member of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Honorary Trustee, and former Republican minority leader in the Massachusetts Legislature, died peacefully in Boston at the age of 84.
Mr. Hatch served on the Center’s Board from 1992 to 2006. He was a fervent supporter of reproductive rights within the philanthropic community and in the political arena, and brought dedication, tough questions, sound judgment, and even poetry-writing to his service on the Board.
After graduating from Harvard, Mr. Hatch served in the Navy during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and two campaign stars for his valor at Iwo Jima. Upon returning, he began his career as a reporter for the Minneapolis Star &, Tribune, and then moved on to become Vice President of Suburban Centers Trust and Mutual Life Insurance Company.
In 1957, Mr. Hatch launched his political career and was elected to the first of three terms as an alderman in his hometown of Beverly, MA. He was a member of the Republican State Committee from 1960 to 1964 and a state representative for the Third Essex District from 1962 to 1978. Mr. Hatch was passionate about the environment and authored the Hatch Act, the state’s 1965 landmark wetlands protection law. He also served as minority leader for eight years. He was narrowly defeated as a Republican candidate for governor in 1978.
Following his extensive political career, Mr. Hatch was able to concentrate on the causes and organizations he championed. He was the long-time Chair of the Board of the John Merck Fund, a foundation that helps to provide funding and support for issues including climate change, Vermont farmland preservation, rural New England job-creation and women’s reproductive rights.
Mr. Hatch is survived by his wife of 58 years, Serena Hatch, five children, and 14 grandchildren.