Orrin Hatch, Seven-Term Senator and a Republican Force, Dies at 88

During the opioid crisis in 2015, he introduced a bill to narrow the authority of government regulators to halt the marketing of drugs by predatory pharmaceutical companies. It later emerged that he had received $2.3 million in donations from the drug industry over 25 years.

But there were no political repercussions. The senator was re-elected in 1982, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2012, averaging nearly 65 percent of the vote.

Orrin Grant Hatch was born in Homestead Park, Pa., near Pittsburgh, on March 22, 1934, the sixth of nine children of Jesse and Helen (Kamm) Hatch. His parents were Mormons who had moved from Utah in the 1920s to find work. After losing their home in the Depression, Jesse borrowed $100 to buy a plot of land in the hills above Pittsburgh and built a house of blackened lumber salvaged from a fire.

Two of Orrin’s siblings died in infancy. He was deeply affected by the loss of his brother, Jesse, a World War II Army Air Forces nose gunner who was killed when his B-24 was shot down in a bombing raid over Europe in 1945.

At Baldwin High School, Orrin was captain of the basketball team and president of the student body. He took two years off for missionary work, proselytizing in Ohio, and graduated in 1955. He then moved to Utah and worked as a union lathe operator to pay his way through Brigham Young University.

In 1957, he married Elaine Hansen. She survives him, as do his sons, Brent and Scott; his daughters, Jess Hatch, Marcia Whetton, Kimberly Catron and Alysa Whitlock; two sisters, Jessica Cluff and Frances Merrill; 23 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in history at BYU in 1959, Mr. Hatch studied law at the University of Pittsburgh on a full scholarship and received his juris doctor in 1962. He joined a Pittsburgh law firm, but in 1969 moved to Salt Lake City to open his own practice. He represented private clients in tax, contract and personal injury cases, and corporations fighting federal regulations.

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