Robert D. Hatmaker, age 84 of Price Hill, died on his birthday, January 31st, 2019. He was the son of the late John Franklin and Flossie Marlowe Hatmaker and dear brother of Nora P. Campbell and the late Anna R. Wade and Charles F. Hatmaker.
Mr. Hatmaker was the choral music teacher at Aiken Senior High School for many years. He never married and he never had any children. Music was his life and his great gift to all of us.
I believe he came to Aiken when it first opened in 1962 and taught there until his retirement. He was the best teacher I ever had! He was a real taskmaster and perfectionist. We all took great pride in our music because of him and it paid off in a big way. He took our various musical groups to state solo contests every year and we always walked away winners, many times first place.
He often spoke of his parents and siblings sitting on the big front porch in Kentucky where he was born, his father playing guitar and all of them harmonizing. His father was a union organizer and Bob was very proud of that fact, bragging that his father had spent many nights hiding under bridges and protesting for the miners.
He attended Berea College in Kentucky and was a musical prodigy, recruited at the age of fifteen. He was a gifted pianist and had a beautiful first tenor voice, singing opera and all styles of music. He was always impeccably dressed with a Windsor knot in his tie and a shine on his shoes. His hair was always perfectly coiffed, his nails clean and trimmed and a twinkle in his eye.
He always looked for the good in people and expected the best from his students. It was not enough to be a good singer; you had to be a good person and a responsible citizen to be part of his team. And there are thousands of his students who still live that way because of him and are passing that on to their children.
God Bless You, Mr. Hatmaker!!
Graveside service at Spring Grove Cemetery on Friday, February 8th at 10 am. (Please meet inside the main gate)