'Elvis' helps honor late Portage leader

2012-11-11T19:30:00Z 2012-11-11T20:19:14Z 'Elvis' helps honor late Portage leaderSUSAN EMERY Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 11, 2012 7:30 pm  • 

PORTAGE | Elvis returned to Portage on Sunday to pay tribute to the late Leo Hatch Sr., a longtime business and civic leader in the city.

Elvis, also known as Curt Lechner, entertained residents at Golden Living Center in Portage as part of an event to honor Hatch, who died in 2007.

Portage Mayor James Snyder presented a plaque of recognition to Hatch's widow, Dorothy Hatch, 79, who is a resident at the center.

The mayor also had a few words to say about the entertainment.

“Elvis keeps coming back to Portage,” Snyder said, referring to the city's annual Elvis FANtasy Fest.

Snyder said Hatch founded Portage Real Estate in 1960 and later Hatch Construction.

Hatch was active in the Portage Chamber of Commerce, YMCA and Rotary Club, and he owned the first movie theater in the city, Snyder said.

“Leo Hatch was a man who helped develop our great city into what it is today,” Snyder said. “It's important to honor the people who've contributed a lot. We're very grateful.”

Hatch's son, Leo Hatch Jr., said his father developed numerous subdivisions in Portage. He always followed a “things to do” list, and he paid at least five compliments to people a day, his son said.

Two former Portage mayors, Doug Olson and Robert Goin, were among those employed by Hatch's companies.

“He created a monopoly, and he did it successfully,” Leo Hatch Jr. said.

Hatch Jr. said he asked Elvis to perform because his mom is a big fan and he wanted to bring a smile to other residents.

Clad in one of his trademark outfits – a white jumpsuit with red sequins – Elvis belted out favorite tunes including “Hound Dog,” “Don't Be Cruel” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

He also walked among the crowd, wrapping red, white and blue scarves around his fans.

Kristal Evans, whose grandfather is a resident at the center, was among the audience members enjoying the performance.

“They need more of this stuff at nursing homes,” Evans said. “This is really special for them.”

Pam Baldin, activity director at the center, said she worked with Leo Hatch Jr. to bring Elvis to the residents.

“They love Elvis and they love that era,” Baldin said. “It brings a smile to their faces.”

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