William Hatton

December 7, 1927 - January 28, 2014
Traverse City, MI



Saturday, May 17, 2014
2:00 PM to 2:45 PM EDT
Friends Meetinghouse
Corner of 5th and Oak
Traverse City, MI 49684


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Grand Traverse Pavilions
1000 Pavilions Circel
Traverse City, MI 49684
(213) 932-3000
Web Site

ACLU of Michigan
2966 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 578-6800
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Cherryland Floral
1208 S. Garfield
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 941-5761
Driving Directions
Web Site

Flower Station
341 W. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 946-1742
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


William Earl Hatton, 86, was born December 7, 1927 in Bloomington, Indiana. He served two years as a MP in the peacetime Army and attended Indiana University on the GI Bill where he was inducted into Phi Lambda Upsilon Honorary Chemical Society. As a graduate student at I.U. he researched fluoridating toothpaste. He rode his Harley to Utah in the 1950s with a fellow grad student to look for uranium (didn’t find any). He married Elizabeth Shortridge, an art student at IU, in 1956 and moved to Michigan with their oldest daughter to do research for Dow Chemical Co. He accompanied the birth of his second daughter in the family VW bug. Sons Andrew and Nathan joined the family in the 1960s and Daryll was a late addition in 2004. Bill left research and worked as an industrial chemist for Federal Alloys in Hamtramck, 2V Industries in Novi, and at the University of Michigan. He lived in Farmington Hills for 42 years before moving to Traverse City for health reasons in 2010.

William Earl was a lifelong liberal and early supporter of civil rights. In the early 1960s he proposed that Dow institute an affirmative hiring plan. He publicly advocated for open housing, the Civil Rights Act, equal access to education, and poverty relief. He developed his own photos, became a certified Master Gardener, tutored neighborhood students in chemistry and could repair, wire, or program anything in the house. Often ahead of his time, he was among the first home computer users, putting together a mail-order Apple Macintosh knock-off called a “Gorilla Banana” over 30 years ago. He learned to cook from his mother and did all the cooking for his wife and children. He was a longtime member of the Farmington Democratic Club, the ACLU, and the Unitarian Universalist Church in both Midland and Farmington Hills.

He retained his dry sense of humor until the end of his life. Under his gruff and stoic exterior he was tender-hearted, generous, and sympathetic, feelings he expressed in his actions more than in words.

William Earl is survived by his wife of 57 years, Elizabeth (Bette Shortridge) of Traverse City, daughters Lydia and Rebecca (Paul Torek), sons Nathan and Daryll, daughter-in-law, Sheri, sister Martha Burris, grandchildren Mathew (Kelly) and Joe Fordon, Thea Torek, Kelsey, Kolin, and Julia Hatton, and Lizzie Hatton. He was preceded in death by his son Andrew in 2013, his parents (1936 and 2002), his niece, Robin Hatton (1969), and his sister, Wetona Stone (2002). He is remembered by his sisters-in-law, Dotte (Bob) Radeke, Mary Helen Shortridge, and Linda Shortridge, and several nieces and nephews. His family is eternally grateful to the staff of Hawthorn Cottage, Maple Pavilion, and Hospice of Michigan. When Bill was no longer able to remember his family, these devoted staff became his family and made his last days most happy and content.

A memorial will be held on May 17, 2014 at the Friends Meetinghouse (corner of 5th & Oak) in Traverse City at 2 pm. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Grand Traverse Pavilions or the ACLU of Michigan. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to sign the guest book and share a message with his family. The family chose Life Story Funeral Home, Traverse City to handle the arrangements.