Mr. Benny Hatcher, 89, of Pine Bluff, died Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Born February 6, 1924 in Rison, Arkansas, a son of John and Willie Poteet Hatcher, he received his early education in Rison.
He served in the US Navy in WWII in Panama as a radio operator on airplanes searching for submarines. After his service he came to Pine Bluff where he began his career in the construction business where he became the premier general contractor in Jefferson County.
Benny worked for Joe Hall, then for Arney Construction before starting his own business in the mid-1950s. His first jobs were remodels, riding a bicycle to work with his tool box attached. He built houses, gasoline stations, did remodeling, and what became Hatcher Construction Company successfully bid for and completed bigger and bigger projects. Hatcher Construction and its successors, Acme Construction and Select Constructors managed many of the biggest projects in the history of Jefferson County. Among them were the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary, the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, the Reynolds Center, the Jefferson County Juvenile Justice Center and Adult Detention Center, JRMC Professional Center Building, UAPB Hathaway Fine Arts Center, Pine Bluff High School, the Entergy Switching Center, medical office buildings at 40th and Hickory, and many communication towers for AT&T. In addition, his companies reconstructed and remodeled numerous buildings including the Simmons First Tower, National Bank of Commerce Building, and First United Methodist Church. His legacy can be seen everywhere in Pine Bluff.
The First Presbyterian Church member and 50 year Mason was a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow and past Women in Construction’s Boss of the Year. Very active in Little League Baseball, Benny Hatcher Field, home of the Western Little League, is named for him.
Survivors include his wife, Scarlette Gibson Hatcher; son, Benny F. Hatcher, Jr. (Beverly) of Searcy, Ark.; daughter, Linda Pratt (William E.) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; step-son, Gene Sellers of Pine Bluff; granddaughters, Ashley Goode and Clara Lynn Ryan (Shawn); step-grandson, Vince Sellers of Pine Bluff who Benny and Scarlette raised; and great-granddaughters, Gracie and Grayson Goode, and Windsor Gail Ryan. Siblings George Wayne Hatcher, Robert Hatcher, Ruby Warren, and Edna Davis also preceded him in death.
Services are at 11:00 a.m Friday, March 22, , First Presbyterian Church with Reverend Lance Clemmons officiating. Committal follows in Union Cemetery by Ralph Robinson & Son. Visitation is from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, at Robinson’s. Memorials are requested to First Presbyterian Church Endowment Fund, 717 West 32nd, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71603. Online register: www.ralphrobinsonandson.com.