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“She was determined that he would not be left behind,” Julia Miller, one of Hatch’s daughters, said.
Marie Martel Hatch died at age 95 on April 30 of coronavirus, two weeks after being diagnosed along with nine others in her vicinity at an Indianapolis nursing home. She had lived in Indianapolis since 1949, rebuffing family that tried to move her out to the Washington, D.C., area. Her daughter remembers her as someone who acted with conviction — always setting an example and doing what was right.
“This is a story she tells — I wasn’t there. She was at a prayer group and late at night at a Catholic Church,” Miller said. “And some kids came in and demanded the jewelry and money, and she talked them into putting their guns down. And invited them to join them in praying the rosary, and they were just so taken aback by her strength that they walked away, and that was it.
“And a lot of people came up to me and said, your mother is so strong. She’s so cool under pressure. That was just very typical of her.”
She applied that strength to her son. Hatch studied special education and worked with Robert daily, teaching him to make change, add, subtract, read and write. She never finished her masters because it required a semester in Bloomington, and she couldn’t leave her family, but Robert graduated high school and got a job as a mechanic.
In her eulogy, Miller recalled a time that — not knowing whether the owner was armed — Hatch demanded a local car shop pay her son back wages. She helped him get a certificate to work in HVAC systems, quizzing him nightly, and took care of him into her late 80s, with a crutch on one side and a cane on the other, before Robert died in 2013.
“She did what it took, no matter how much pain she was in,” Miller said. “So devoted.”
Hatch had a penchant for baking, and her kids would often come home from school to homemade goods. She never bought baked goods from a store.
She kept her household in good order, sending all her girls to good schools, and practiced as a devout Catholic.