Warren R. Hatch, 89, marine representative for Exxon

March 05, 2000|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

For nearly 30 years, the professional world of Warren R. Hatch, marine representative for the Eastern Esso region of Humble Oil and Refining Co., consisted of noisy steamship agent offices and humid engine rooms of ships calling at the Port of Baltimore.

Mr. Hatch, a popular waterfront figure who was known for his broad smile and colorful bow ties, died Tuesday of cardiac failure at College Manor retirement home in Lutherville. He was 89.

Working from a shrimp-colored Plymouth with fins, or in later years a blue Chevy, Mr. Hatch called on shipping offices or descended deep into ship engine rooms fragrant with the odor of steam-heated oil to converse with chief engineers or steamship agents in order to sell his company's oil and lubricants.

"He also did a lot of business over tables of food at Haussner's, Karson's Inn and the Brentwood Inn," said his granddaughter, the Rev. L. Katherine Moore, pastor of Emory United Methodist Church in Ellicott City.

Because of the round-the-clock nature and needs of shipping, Mr. Hatch, a former longtime Parkville and Overlea resident, often worked all hours of the day or night and in all kinds of weather.

"He used to pick up a pie at Haussner's and shove it through the door as a peace offering or throw in his hat. If it didn't come back, then he'd go in," said Rev. Moore, laughing.

Always impeccably dressed, Mr. Hatch cut a sartorial figure on the Baltimore waterfront.

"He was a very affable person and a great salesman who could sell snow to Eskimos. He was the kind of guy who sold not by conning but by persuading people," said Helen Delich Bentley, former Republican congresswoman and U.S. maritime commissioner.

"Warren was an easy guy to like. He had one of the warmest smiles of anyone I've ever known, and I never saw him without his bow tie," she said.

"He was a natural-born salesman who used to say he was a Humble oil peddler," said his daughter, Katherine G. Moore of Lutherville, with a laugh.

Mr. Hatch, who had a deep love for the sea and ships, also had a cautious side when around them.

"When he got his false teeth in the 1960s, he had them insured by Lloyds of London because he was afraid he might lose them over the side of a ship," said his granddaughter.

Born in Baltimore and reared in Overlea, Mr. Hatch was descended from a Provincetown, Mass., seafaring family. His paternal grandfather, Samuel T. Hatch, owned a cod-fishing fleet, and his father, Capt. Benjamin F. Hatch, was a skipper for the Merchants & Miners Line.

After his father's death in 1927, he left City College and went to work pumping gas for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. He quickly rose through the company's ranks and was promoted to marine salesman in 1944. He retired from Exxon Oil Co., a successor company, in 1972.

He had been a member of the Baltimore Maritime Exchange, National Rivers and Harbors Congress, National Port Authorities and Propeller Club of Baltimore.

He was married to Katherine Gertrude Price, who died in 1989.

He was a member of Arnolia United Methodist Church, 1776 E. Joppa Road, Towson, where services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

In addition to his daughter and granddaughter, he is survived by a grandson, Thomas Warren Moore of College Park.

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