Remembering Paul Hatfield

Paul Hatfield

Paul Hatfield sings Act Naturally while George Ortman engineers in KTNA’s first year on the air. Photo courtesy Anchorage Daily News


Talkeetna has lost another good friend with the sudden passing of Paul Hatfield. Hatfield was instrumental in the early days at KTNA, and is remembered by his many friends and fellow musicians. KTNA will provide more information as it comes available.

Doug Geeting recalls Paul with this story:

More then a Friend. A brother, or ‘Brudda” as Paul would always greet whoever he met wherever he went. We all get into circles of friends, and Paul’s circle encompassed all circles. He just jelled well with everyone. If you met Paul one time, you felt like you knew him your whole life.  He built, or helped to build many of our  homes, contributed much of his time for free to help others with their construction projects.

I remember the first time I met Paul out at the ball field. He was around the third base area squeaking out some fiddle tune and I was trying to learn some right thumb thumpy style on guitar around the bleacher area. Both of us were sounding like two cats fighting on a hot tin roof. It sounded pretty awful back then. And Paul came up and said, ” Ya know, I don’t think we will make anyone’s ears bleed playing out here.” Later on, with Tom Waite’s Talkeetna Travelers, we played every chance we had. Steve, Jonathan, Murray, Jim, Carl, were the usual culprits, a “True Band of Bruddas.”

He had developed his own style of playing the fiddle and you could hear his heart and soul poor out of the music. His enthusiasm and encouragement to the new players was well known. He was a teacher, and a positive influence to those wanting to learn how to play.

His hand was extended to those who were new to Talkeetna, strangers,  who Paul would always be one of the first to welcome them in and make them feel that they belonged.  I never ever heard Paul talk bad about anyone. Paul had no cold shoulder. A gentleman, so genuine and wore no disguise. I always hear his rendition of Whiskey Before Breakfast rolling round my brain.  It was Pauls time to cross over to the other side of the river but his tracks and trails will never fade in hearts of all of us who were so very fortunate to have have known him.

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