William T. H. Hathaway

By Jonathan T. Decker

Bill Hathaway at the Danville Science Center

Bill Hathaway at the Danville Science Center in Danville, Virginia, August 4, 2007. (Photo by Bruce Carney.)

William Taylor Ham “Bill” Hathaway, 85, formerly of 163 Sutherlin Avenue, Danville, died Saturday, March 14, 2009, at Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center in Richmond, Virginia.

Born July 7, 1923, in Norfolk, Virginia, he was the son of the late Samuel Devereaux Hathaway and Katherine Burwell Ham Hathaway. He was married to Mildred New Hathaway, who predeceased him.

He lived most of his life in the Danville area and was a graduate of Hargrave Military Academy and Averett University. He served 8 years with the US Marine Corps, including in the Consolidation of the Solomons during World War II and later in the Korean Conflict. He retired as Resident Naturalist Emeritus for the Pittsylvania County School System and was of the Episcopalian faith.

Bill Hathaway was an avid naturalist and devoted most of his life to the study of nature and science. He was always eager to share his knowledge with others through his writings in Nature’s Niche and other newspaper columns, the various local museums to which he contributed, and field trips that many students still remember. Bill began teaching a few years after he left the Marines in 1956.  He taught at Dan River, Whitmell, Tunstall, and the Govenor’s School summer program.  His practical approach to teaching with hands-on techniques generated enthusiasm in his students. It is much more interesting to apply trigonometry measuring the height of a tree than solving equations in the classroom. Bill touched many lives with his love of nature and he will always be remembered as the teacher from the University of Outdoors.

He is survived by his daughter, Katheryne H. Terry of Richmond; and two brothers, Samuel Devereaux Hathaway, Jr., of Virginia Beach and Gardner Rugg Hathaway of Falls Church, Virginia. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Jonathan T. Decker, Matthew and Benjamin Terry and two great-grandchildren, Ruby and Bella Decker. In addition to his wife and parents he was predeceased by a daughter, Peni Ray.

The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to the Danville Life Saving Crew, 202 Christopher Lane, Danville, Virginia 24541 or the Danville Science Center, 677 Craighead Street, Danville, Virginia 24541.

Funeral services will be private.

Those who wish may visit Bill’s web site at PittPaths.com.

Swicegood Funeral Home is serving the Hathaway family.

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