Orrin Hatch, longest-serving Republican U.S. senator, dies at 88

Orrin Grant Hatch, an American attorney, politician, and the longest-serving Republican senator in history died on Saturday at the age of 88 where he was a fixture in Utah politics for more than four decades.

According to Hatch Foundation,  Hatch served in the Senate for 42 years, making him the longest-serving Republican senator in history retiring in 2019 at the end of his last term.

In a statement, Matt Sandgren, executive director of the Hatch Foundation, said, “Senator Orrin G. Hatch personified the American Dream.” “He overcame the poverty of his youth to become a United States Senator, having been born the son of a carpenter and plaster lather.”

Hatch also held the record for being Utah’s longest-serving senator. In 1976, he was elected for the first time, and in January 2018, he announced his retirement.

In making the announcement, he referred to his past as an amateur boxer, saying in a video, “Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.  And that time is soon approaching for me.”

Hatch was born in 1934 in Homestead Park, Pennsylvania.

He grew up in a “ramshackle house” during the Great Depression and went on to chair three Senate committees and influence important pieces of legislation across the political spectrum.

Hatch earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University in 1959 and moved to Utah in 1969.

His wife, Elaine, and their six children survive him. Funeral plans will be revealed at a later date, according to the Hatch Foundation. “Utah mourns with the Hatch family,” Utah Governor Spencer Cox tweeted.

“This makes my heartbreak. Abby and I are incredibly appreciative of the opportunities we’ve had to spend time with this extraordinary public servant. Cox, a Republican, remarked, “He was always so courteous and generous with his time and advice.”