Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
The Honorable Leighton Hatch ’50 passed away in Sacramento on April 13, 2011. Born in Oakland on January 11, 1929 to F. Oliver Hatch and Clarice Leighton Hatch and raised in Martinez, Calif., he is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Lynn Fjelstad Hatch and his children: Katherine ’81, Maury (Kristen), and Bruce, and beloved grandchildren Nathan and Lindsay. He was preceded in death by his son Francis Hatch. He is also survived by his brother Richard Hatch (Carol), his sister Katherine Smith (Clarke), and many nieces and nephews. He was an Eagle Scout (1945) and a graduate of Alhambra High School (1946). He graduated from Santa Clara University (1950), and then received his law degree from the University of San Francisco (1954). He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for ‘Bravery in Action.’ After admission to the State Bar in 1955, he worked as a research attorney for the Court of Appeal in San Francisco, served as an assistant district attorney in Contra Costa County, and later established a private practice in San Francisco. An appointment by Governor Reagan in 1967 moved Leighton and his family to Sacramento. He served as Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings. Other appointments by Governor Reagan included a 1969 position as Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs and then to the bench in 1972. In 1988, he retired as Colonel, JAG, U.S. Army Reserve, and in 1989 retired as Judge of the Sacramento Superior Court. His many and varied interests included a lifelong love of history with an impressive knowledge of Civil War and general military history. He was an avid tennis player, loved riding his bicycle, hiking and backpacking, and was very faithful to his Catholic beliefs. He traveled extensively in his retirement years, infamously sending his one-line postcards to his close friends and family. He was a kind, humble man with a noble dedication to the Catholic Church, volunteerism and community service, and he had a great sense of humor. He was a staunch supporter of his beloved Santa Clara University and was named Santa Claran of the year in 1978. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors and longtime volunteer for Father Dan Madigan’s Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, and was a member of the Sacramento Downtown Rotary Club. In his post retirement years, he continued his judicial work in the Assigned Judge Program with the California Judicial Council. He was awarded the 2005 Alba Witkin Humanitarian Award in recognition of his work.