CACHE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Elaine Hatch is the wife of late U.S. senator Orrin G. Hatch. Mrs. Hatch grew up in the small town of Newton in Cache County. It is in Newton, next to Mrs. Hatch’s parents, where Sen. Hatch is now laid to rest. For residents of the town, it is an honor to be part of Mr. Hatch’s legacy.
“We feel very honored and privileged that they chose the Newton Cemetery,” Penny Douglas told ABC4 News. Douglas grew up with Mrs. Hatch’s niece and met the senator on multiple occasions when he and his wife were in town to visit her parents.
“He just was gracious and generous to everyone and made you feel like you were part of the family,” stated Douglas. She said the senator always made the people he was talking to feel like they were of great importance. It felt like he always had time to talk to everyone and this kindness, Douglas explained, was a perfect fit with the Hansen family (Mrs. Hatch’s family).
Mrs. Douglas also told ABC4 that she believes the senator’s gravesite will be visited often by many people in the area who deeply respect what he did during his four decades serving as a senator. Not only that, but she explained that the respect the community has for the Hansen family will also ensure that his plot is always well maintained.
Also paying her respects at the interment in Newton was a woman named Ilda Berge. She is a childhood friend of Mrs. Hatch. She told ABC4 that the two have stayed in contact their entire lives. “We have certainly been proud of all that family,” she stated.
After graduating from high school, Berge roomed with Mrs. Hatch at Brigham Young University. Berge told ABC4 that Elaine Hansen (at the time) once told her she would love to marry someone like Orrin Hatch. This, Berge explained, was long before the two would even begin dating.
“We thought, he was really smart, and he was very dependable,” Berge replied when asked what Elaine’s friends thought of Orrin when the two began their courtship. She continued, “You just felt secure and like you could count on what he said.”
When Elaine and Orrin were married, Mrs. Berge attended their wedding reception. What she remembers most is: “He was handsome. She was beautiful. They were really in love, it was nice, and they stayed that way.”
The couple stayed that way for well over 60 years.