Lt. Col. David B. Hatcher (Ret.), 85, of Mount Airy, entered the eternal presence of our Lord on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at the Woltz Hospice home surrounded by his loving family. He was born March 27, 1934, in Surry County, the son of the late Walter Edward and Elizabeth Gambill Hatcher. David grew up in Slate Mountain, NC and graduated from Flat Rock High School in 1952. While attending North Carolina State University he learned to fly solo at the Piper Club in Raleigh. He left Raleigh and entered the Air Force to pursue his love of flying. He first entered the Aviation Cadet Program for Aviation Observer and Navigator to become a Navigator while he completed a 4-year college degree, a requirement for Pilot Training in the USAF. After earning an Economics degree from the University of Omaha, he entered the pilot training program and was awarded his pilot wings at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, in September 1959. Over the years, Hatcher was stationed in Texas, Maine, Georgia, Germany and North Carolina with deployments to the Middle East, Far East, Alaska, and Southeast Asia. During his 112th combat mission, his plane took enemy fire and he was forced to eject over North Vietnam on May 30, 1966. He was captured 24 hours later and spent almost 7 years as a Prisoner of War under unimaginable hardships. When his plane was shot down, he had more flying time in the F-105 than anyone in the Air Force. He was released on February 12, 1973 during Operation Homecoming. His family, friends, and the people of Mount Airy and surrounding communities welcomed him home with open arms and their support and encouragement will never be forgotten. After retiring from the Air Force in March 1974, Hatcher started his own Real Estate and Construction Company and later had a Real Estate Appraisal Business. He was very active in the Real Estate Association, served as President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1980, and was a volunteer for Hospice and the Surry Medical Ministries. He had a passion for teaching and loved teaching the men’s Sunday school class at his church. Hatcher was deeply committed to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and it showed through his quiet caring, devotion and generosity to his family, friends, and strangers in need. He was a man of strength and integrity and will be greatly missed by his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 5 years, Georgia Moser Hatcher; daughters and sons-in-law, Liz and Marty Johnson of Mt. Airy, and Alison and Chuck Cardwell of Charlotte; granddaughter, Ashley Johnson Crouse and husband Joseph of Mt. Airy; grandsons, Eddie Johnson and wife Haley of Raleigh, David Cardwell, Josh Cardwell, and Sam Cardwell of Charlotte. He is also survived by many special cousins, nieces and nephews and his wife Georgia’s daughter, Wanda Johnson and her daughters, Jennifer and Camille. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved first wife of 58 years, Willodene Allred Hatcher; his sisters, Margaret Kearney and Mary Ellen Rose; brothers, Tom Lewis, Ed Lewis, and Frank Lewis; and his stepparents Margaret and Will Lewis. The funeral service will be held Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 3:00 PM at Antioch Baptist Church with the Rev. Grant Atkins officiating. Burial will follow at Oakdale Cemetery with full military honors conducted by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Honor Guard. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 1:30 until 3:00 PM at the church. Flowers will be accepted or memorial contributions may be made to the Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice Home, 945 Zephyr Road, Dobson, NC 27017. Moody Funeral Services in Mount Airy is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at www.moodyfuneralservices.com
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