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Obituary - March 10, 2018

Glenn Wilson Hatfield

Glenn Wilson Hatfield, 88, died on October 13, 2017, at his home in the Rossmoor retirement community of Walnut Creek, California, after a fall that fractured his hip and a hospitalization at John Muir hospital. 

pg14Glenn moved to Guadalajara in 1987 with his wife, Jan Hatfield, after retiring from teaching at the University of Washington, and the couple lived here 22 years. During those years, the Hatfields attended St. Mark’s Anglican church and Glenn enjoyed playing in a weekly poker group and helping Jan acquire their eventually prodigious collection of Mexican popular art, part of which they later donated to the Smithsonian Institution, based in Washington, D.C., in its American History section on Home and Community.

Glenn was born on April 14, 1929, in Georgetown, Ohio and grew up in Norwood, a Cincinnati suburb, with his three brothers and his parents, Glenn, Sr., and Margaret Gropenbacher Hatfield. He joined the U.S. Army in 1952, was stationed in Italy, where he met and married his first wife, Licia Gros, and was honorably discharged in 1954. He received his PhD from Ohio State University in 1964. He wrote and published a still highly regarded book “Henry Fielding and the Language of Irony” (University of Chicago Press, 1968). He and Licia lived happily for 12 years until Licia’s death following open heart surgery. Glenn was devastated but continued to work as associate professor of 18th century English literature at the University of Washington, where his career spanned 25 years.  

In 1972 Glenn was a professor in a graduate seminar in the poetry of Alexander Pope when he met the woman who would become his second wife, Janice Lommen-Hatfield. She was working on her doctorate following the death of her beloved first husband, David Lommen. After the course, Glenn and Jan began to go out and were married in 1973.

The couple moved a lot, first from the 17-room mansion they bought at a bargain price during the Boeing Crises of the 1960s and 70s, to the 100-year-old log house they bought on Bainbridge Island, Washington. They found an architect to renovate it into a beautiful modern house that looked down to Port Orchard Bay and included a clam-digging beach, the center of summer parties and fall apple-pressing parties, using fruit from trees on the property. Glenn loved to walk his dogs along the beach road.

With their son David off to college and son Paul beginning his career in the Nordstrom flagship store in Seattle, the couple spent a sabbatical year in Mexico in 1974, because Jan loved the country’s artesania and Glenn liked roaming around and helping her build a collection of it. Part of that collection is now in the Smithsonian Institution in the American History section on Home and Community. 

The couple eventually moved to Mexico, and by the time they returned to the United States had amassed an 851-book collection on Mexican history, culture and arts and crafts, which was donated to the Mexico Museum in San Francisco and will become part of its library in the new Yerba Buena complex on Treasure Island. Glenn also gave two big book donations, first to a community college which had suffered a fire. He donated his entire scholarly library, which had filled all the shelves of his U of W office. 

Glenn is survived by Janice Lommen-Hatfield, his wife of 44 years; his stepson Paul Adam Lommen, his wife, Marry Beth Russell-Lommen and their son, Jackson David Weldon Lommen, age 10;  Glenn’s stepson David Harold Lommen of Maddock, North Dakota; his son, Tosten David Walsh Lommen of Santa Cruz, California; Glenn’s brothers Richard (Dick), 92, and Wayne, 85, and their many descendants.

Glenn was a true “man of letters,” said his widow, Jan, and he knew his field of study as well as literary history. “He was a dear, loving man who greatly appreciated art, classical music and opera. He loved animals. He collected antique scientific instruments and old books and prints. He constantly bought gifts for me, and I felt fortunate to have such a considerate husband from whom I learned so much. I will miss him for the rest of my days.”

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