Ardell K. Hatch, 93, of Vermillion, passed away Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at the Sanford Vermillion Hospital.
Ardell was born July 3, 1920 in Wakonda, to Cyrus and Clara (Utesch) Hatch. He graduated from Wakonda High School and served in the 147th field artillery regiment of the US Army from 1940-1945. Upon returning from the service, he started working in his family’s furniture store in Wakonda and he retired in 1985 and moved to Vermillion in 1973, where he took over the Hatch Furniture store in Vermillion. He married Rula Facer on Jan. 1, 1945 in Wakonda.
Second only to his love of family was his love for USD, all Coyote Athletics and the communities of Wakonda and Vermillion. Ardell was an integral part of bringing a domed stadium to USD and the city of Vermillion. In addition, he was instrumental in the creation of the high school football playoff system and bringing the football playoffs to the DakotaDome. He served many years on the event committee and established the Joe Robbie award, named for his friend and Miami Dolphins Football team owner, which recognizes the most valuable performer in each playoff game. He and Rula served many years as a host family for out of town football teams. In 1997 he was presented with the distinguished Service Award by the SDHSAA. The university, athletic teams and community have recognized Ardell’s dedication by naming him and his wife Rula as the DakotaDome’s First Couple for the Dome’s 30th anniversary.
In 2001 Ardell received the Noel Olson Volunteer of the Year Award from the NCC. The USD School of Business honored him with a Distinguished Service Award in 1981 and he received the USD Honorary Alumnus Award in 1988. In 1989, USD presented him with one of his most cherished awards by naming him to the Coyote Hall of Fame as a Special Contributor.
He is survived by his wife, Rula of Vermillion; his two daughters, Natalie (Bob) Sturm of Sioux Falls, and Kimberly (Guy) Di Benedetto of Pierre; a brother, Warren (De) Hatch of Yankton; six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Paula Hatch Feller.
Funeral services were 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 at the United Church of Christ in Vermillion with burial following in the BluffView Cemetery in Vermillion. Visitation was Wednesday, Dec. 11 beginning at 5 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 7 p.m. all at the church. hansenfuneralhome.com.