Former Senator Orrin Hatch Dies at age 88

Orrin G. Hatch
He served as a senator from Utah for 42 years. 

Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Utah history, passed away Saturday at age 88, in Salt Lake City. The Orrin G. Hatch Foundation announced that he died surrounded by family, but the cause of death was not released. Hatch leaves behind his wife, Elaine, of 60 years, six children, and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His service tenure representing Utah began in 1977 until 2019. He cosponsored over 750 pieces of legislation and is credited with “having passed more legislation into law than any other Senator alive,” per the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. The Foundation’s statement also included that “Senator Hatch credited his family and his deep religious faith as the key to his success.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Orrin was also remarkable for reasons that went beyond his titanic Senate record. He was warm. He was deeply kind and gentlemanly. He cherished his faith and loved his church.” 

President Biden, having served with Hatch for three decades in the U.S. Senate issued a statement Sunday:

Jill and I and the entire Biden family are saddened to learn of the passing of Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senator in Utah’s history, and the longest-serving Republican Senator in our nation’s history.

Orrin Hatch once shared in an interview that he had a soft side, and he had a tough side. To serve with Orrin, as I did for over three decades, was to see—and appreciate—both.

He was the fighter who carried with him the memory of his humble upbringing near Pittsburgh, who never humored a bully, or shied from a challenge. The young man who, upon receiving his degree from Brigham Young University, was the first in his family to graduate college; the young lawyer who built a successful law practice; and the Senator who sprinted from meeting to meeting because there was so much to do—indeed, when Senator Hatch retired, he had sponsored or co-sponsored more legislation than any Senator at the time.

I saw that energetic, sharp-elbowed Orrin in the many battles we had over tax policy, the right of workers to join a union, and many others.

At the same time, Senator Hatch was also a man of deep faith; a gentle soul who wrote songs and poems, and shared them with friends, colleagues, and the world. This was the Orrin who looked out for the people who often didn’t have a voice in our laws and our country. I saw this in his efforts to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

When I first launched the Cancer Moonshot as Vice President, one of the first visits I made was to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, at Orrin’s request. We both saw speeding the pace of cancer research as an issue that transcended political divisions.

When I cast my 10,000th vote in the Senate, Orrin came to the Senate floor and we had a chance to speak. I said that the greatest perk one has as a Senator was access to people with serious minds, a serious sense of purpose, and who cared about something. That was Orrin.

He was, quite simply, an American original.

Jill and I send our deepest sympathies to Elaine, and all of the Hatch children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For his wife Elaine, and family and friends of former Senator Orrin Hatch as they grieve his passing.
  • With gratitude for many of the accomplishments in the life of Orrin Hatch, his service to the nation, and for displays of faith. 

Sources: Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, White House, Yahoo, Wikipedia


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