USU Eastern mourns loss of Professor Jordan Hatch
A pillar of USU Eastern’s faculty was killed the evening of Nov. 21, after his pickup truck rolled off a mountain road in Emery County.
Jordan Hatch, 46, an associate professor in the heavy equipment and trucking department for the past 15 and 1/2 years, was driving down Gentry Mountain in a one-ton Chevrolet pick up truck with a cattle rack holding two horses in the bed of the truck.
According to Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk, Hatch lost control of the truck, which rolled at least one time down the road before going off a 150-foot embankment.
Faculty and staff were notified of Hatch’s accident on Nov. 23 by Chancellor Joe Peterson in a campus-wide email.
It was hard to find anyone on campus that did not have kind words to say about Hatch, his perpetual smile and his Emery County drawl. He was a guy that would be up long before the sun to take care of his cattle, work a full day on campus, then drive back to Emery County where he continued ranching. His full-time job every weekend was taking care of his ranching responsibilities. He never had much use for a vacation, he preferred to work, that bought him happiness and satisfaction.
While the campus community was stunned over Hatch’s untimely death, some found time to reflect on their experiences of knowing Jordan and his friendship to everyone he knew.
“When I was planning out the expansion of the preschool playground, the old foot-thick concrete wall was being removed. The problem was how to move it once the cuts were made in the existing wall and who would haul it away. I noticed a fork lift and front end loader near the dorms and approached the operator to see if this was within their powers to help out. He told me I would need to check with Jordan who would be back in a while.
“When Jordan returned, I explained my dilemma. He looked at the wall and I could tell he was deciding whether to tackle the project or not. He said okay. He then got into the front end loader and with the precision of a skilled surgeon, tilted the heavy wall into the bucket and hauled it to the waiting flat bed. He repeated this process with the remaining piece. When he was finished, he signed with relief and said he never thought it would be that easy. His colleague noted that he would never have attempted it. I was thankful for Jordan’s willingness to share his talents.”
“My favorite “Jordan Experience” would be a collection of all the years I knew him; he always had a smile, was pleasant, and he always made you feel like you were one of his best friends.”
“When Jordan first started in the heavy equipment and trucking program, he had some work ahead of him to get the program back in line. Jordan worked hard and made it a first class program. As in his obituary, you always know where you stood with him. He was willing to go the extra mile to help his students succeed, but if the students didn’t pull their end of the load, they were out! When he came into the Records Office, he always made it a point to come say hi to the ‘Record Ladies’ and see how our day was going. He was always in a good mood and had a smile on his face.
“The last conversation I had with Jordan involved Vicki Kulow, Jordan and myself. He had been at a dinner function with Vicki and her husband James, and James was wearing a rather fancy cowboy belt. Jordan commented on the fashion statement and told us he didn’t have anything that fancy, but maybe he should go get one! He said it takes a true man to wear such a fancy belt. Jordan was always dressed in cowboy gear and you could tell he lived the life of a true cowboy. The Records Office will truly miss working with and interacting with Jordan Wallace Hatch.”
“I didn’t have the pleasure of truly getting to know Jordan, but what struck me about him was the instant warmth and genuine friendliness that came from the man. I first met Jordan at a P-Card training. He and I got to talking about obtaining a commercial driver’s license, which was something I needed to get. He quickly offered me advice on what to study and told me that if I ever wanted to practice driving the big rigs, just give him a holler and he’d love to help me out.
“The day I went to get my “CDL” I called Jordan for some last minute advice which he readily gave me. I remember seeing him next at an all staff meeting and he was quick to ask me how the test went. Jordan Hatch was a man, and truly a man who could fit in with any crowd. We were all better for having known Jordan and surely we’ve all lost one of the good ones. Price is a lesser place without Jordan Hatch.”
“I once saw Jordan at the last career fair. He had this new monster bulldozer on display. I asked him a little about it and the way he talked about it, you could tell he was like a proud papa with this machine. I joked that I would love to learn how to take it for a spin... without hesitation he said, just come out to trucking and I would be happy to show you how. But with Jordan, he didn’t make offers tongue in check, they were all sincere. I never had the chance to get down to trucking and take him up on his offer, but every time I saw him on campus he reminded me of it. Jordan had a great sense of humor and he will be missed.”
About five years ago, I did a routine “peer evaluation” of Jordan’s teaching. A typical peer evaluation consists of sitting in the back row of a colleague’s class and watching him or her lecture for 50 minutes. However, Jordan’s peer evaluation was an adventure! I rode with him and a HETR student in one of the “semi” trucks for over an hour, from the HETR building west to the mountains, then south to the Hunter power plant near Castle Dale. The student was trying to learn how to shift the gears of the big truck, and the lurching and grinding noises were making me jittery. Jordan was so patient with the nervous student, putting him at ease and calmly explaining how to drive the truck. It almost made me want to get my CDL (commercial driver license)! Also, Jordan was an amazing Parliamentary Procedure wonk, as he showed us when he served on various college committees. I will really miss Jordan --- he was a talented instructor and a wonderful friend.