E. C. Hatton
January 7, 1930 – August 8, 2019
E.C. Hatton, 89, of Killeen passed peacefully Thursday, August 8, 2019 in Temple, Texas. E.C. was born January 7, 1930 in Hillister, Texas to a farming family. He joined the Army-Air Corps in 1946 at the age of 16 serving as aircraft mechanic on the B24 Bomber; jet engine mechanic on the F102; and, following flight engineer school advanced to instructor and flight examiner on the C124 aircraft. E.C. served 20 years on active duty then continued with Reserve duty and Civil Service with total service of 28 years and a final rank of Master Sergeant. After his years of service, E.C, joined his brother James in the agricultural machinery manufacturing business, Semco. He greatly enjoyed traveling to meet with farmers and representing the business at trade shows.
In 1949, E.C. married Valerie Steiger of Long Island, New York (who predeceased him in 1992). Together, they raised three children while moving between duty stations: Mitchell Field AFB, Long Island; Kadena AFB, Okinawa; Langley AFB, Virginia; Stewart Field, New York; Dover AFB, Delaware; a repeat assignment to Stewart AFB; and then, when the C124s were moved to California in 1970, he was offered a transfer to Hamilton and Travis Air Force Bases in California to continue his Civil Service and Reserve duty.
Over his career, E.C. accumulated over sixteen thousand flight hours and over two million miles on the C124. He was part of the flight crew that delivered the last C124 to the boneyard at Tucson, Arizona in 1972. Over the course of his career, he also flew the C141. He finished his flying career on a plush T29D in April 1975.
In retirement, his passions included gardening, raising horses, eating fresh fruit and ice cream, and constant projects. At that time, he enrolled in Solano College, majoring in agriculture, and earned his Associate of Arts degree in 1976. Always a mechanically-inclined tinkerer, E.C. loved to take things apart and put them back together. He could visualize a project through its finish; sew everything from auto upholstery to boat covers; and build just about anything including fences, bookcases, barns, sheds, a cabin, a solar hot water system; as well as helping to construct a daughter’s home. What he could create from nearly nothing in materials was limited only by his near boundless imagination. E.C. shared with his children his positive outlook, loyalty, and fierce independence. He raised them to believe that they were capable of anything they set their minds to. Their small stumbling blocks were met with the forward-looking query, “Well, what is your Plan B?” This guidance to not make excuses but simply move forward has served them well.
E.C. moved to Killeen in 1999. He was fortunate to eventually meet Machiko Jan and together they enjoyed a loving relationship including traveling, laughter, and joy as they cared for and about each other. In Killeen, a special treat for all visitors was a tour of his property on his golf cart. Unfortunately, E.C’s last adventure on his golf cart resulted in the accident that led to his death.
E.C. is survived by Machiko, Craig, Valerie, Beth Anne, five grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren. Services will be held 11:00 AM Wednesday, August 14 with visitation at 10:30 a.m., and reception to follow. A private inurnment at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery will follow at a later date.
- Visitation Prior to Service Wednesday, August 14, 2019
- Memorial Service Wednesday, August 14, 2019