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Ronald Hatch

$1,195.00 (raised so far)

About Ronald Hatch

Retired UBC Professor Ronald Hatch died on November 25, 2021. Ron was a professor in the UBC English department for over 35 years. Outside of UBC, he was an accomplished mountaineer and ran the publishing house Ronsdale Press with his wife Veronica.

He passed away peacefully surrounded by family, after a yearlong battle with cancer during which he continued to edit and publish the manuscripts of local writers until the last possible moment. He is survived by his wife, a brother, two sons and five grandsons.

Ron was born in what is now Thunder Bay in 1939. He attended university at UBC for his undergrad, where he began studying math and philosophy, later graduating with an honours degree in English and philosophy. In the summers he worked as a timber cruiser on Vancouver Island. While at school he made a point of getting into the mountains, something that became a lifelong passion. It was at UBC where he met his wife Veronica Hatch (née Lonsdale), in a philosophy club meeting.

He got a masters in English from UBC, after which he taught in India, embarked on epic motorcycle journeys across South Asia and the Middle East and spent time in the Himalayas so he could climb among the world’s most legendary mountains.

The young couple moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1969 with a dissertation on eighteenth century social history and the poetry of George Crabbe. Ron read widely. He was a lover of Shakespeare and the classics but also a champion of contemporary West Coast writers.

It was in Edinburgh that Ron and Veronica had their first son— Christopher Hatch. They would go on to have another boy, Kevin. He loved Scotland — it was the land of his own mother and he considered himself a diasporic Scotsman.

After leaving Edinburgh, the young family moved back to Vancouver where he took a teaching post at UBC as an assistant professor. He dedicated a large part of his life to UBC. Ron would commute by bicycle and later by motorbike, wearing a leather jacket over his classic shirt-and-tie to UBC, where, by all accounts, he was feared as a hard-marker and stringent advocate of proper grammar. But students grudgingly admitted that he was fair and imparted a genuine love for literature. He would invite his upper-year seminar and postgraduate students over for dinner to drink the wine that he made in his basement, among his looming stacks of books.

His love of the outdoors was something he instilled in his sons and they passed on to his grandchildren. Ron and Veronica would later publish a book titled Clayoquot and Dissent, in which Ron penned an essay titled “The Clayoquot Show Trials.” Even a couple of years ago, Ron was still hiking up Burnaby Mountain to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

As Ron approached retirement, they purchased a publishing house and named it Ronsdale Press; an amalgamation of his name and his wife’s maiden name. At Ronsdale, he co-translated several works of Korean poetry, while also relentlessly publishing local authors and the poetry of Richard Wagamese.

UBC was important to Ron. Even near the end, he would consistently ask his grandson how his studies were going. He studied here, taught here, met the love of his life here and sent two sons and two more grandsons (thus far) to this university.

Ron lived his life in letters and mountains. He was a steadfast defender of the written word and the natural world.

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The impact of your support

In honour of Ron’s life and accomplishments, his friends and family, have created the Ronald Hatch Memorial Fund. Your gift will pay tribute to Ron’s life and career by supporting students at UBC. Final decisions on the award description and student eligibility will be made in consultation with the family

Messages of Remembrance

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  • RON WAS MY OLDER BROTHER SOMEONE I ALWAYS LOOKED UP TO AND LOVED. I STAYED WITH THEM WHEN THEY RETURNED TO CANADA FOR A SHORT TIME. I WILL MISS THE PHONE CALLS AND THE TIMES WE SPEND TOGETHER. HE HAD A WONDERFULL LIFE AND HAS A LOVING FAMILY THAT SURRONDED HIM WHAT MORE CAN ANYBODY ASK FOR

    Bruce hatch, BROTHER
List of Donors
  • Tiffany Potter

  • Leslie Arnovick

  • Michael Zeitlin

  • Deena Chochinov and Eric Posen

  • Bruce hatch

  • Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia

  • Anonymous

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