He was born Aug. 30, 1914, in rural Chase to Fred Henry and Bertha Lola (Dexter) Hathaway. He is a lifetime rural Chase resident and lived on the family's homestead established in 1878. He graduated from Chase High School in 1932 and graduated from Kansas State University in 1938 with a bachelor's degree in agronomy. He served in the Army Air Force in the South Pacific during World War II.
Mr. Hathaway is a retired farmer and stockman. He was a local historian and proprietor of "Ralph's Ruts," which is among the best preserved evidence of the Santa Fe Trail. He was featured in many publications for his preservation efforts, most notably in the March 1991 issue of National Geographic. He was an avid reader and enjoyed writing, having published several booklets about local and personal history.
He was a member of Community Presbyterian Church in Chase, the Santa Fe Trail Association, the Fort Larned Old Guard, the Kansas State Historical Society, the Kansas Corral of the Westerners and the Hathaway Family Association. He was a life member of the Rice County Historical Society and served a long time on its board. He also was a member of the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas and the Fifth Air Force Memorial Foundation.
He married Marjorie Folger on Dec. 9, 1945, in Cawker City. She died Feb. 9, 1956. He married Beth Briggs on Oct. 6, 1962, in Kansas City, Mo. She died Sept. 8, 1994.
Survivors include a son, Martin Hathaway and his wife, Debbie, of Bedford, Texas; two daughters, Carolyn Kern and her husband, Ed, of Chase and Marlene Carson of Parsons; 11 grandchildren, Kristi Simon and her husband, Eric, John Hathaway and his wife, Catherine, Josh Wright, Emily Hathaway, Marjorie Haeusler and her husband, Chris, Peter Kern and his wife, Haley, Joseph Kern and his wife, Mandy, Celeste Coleman and her husband, Travis, Terry Carson and his wife, Kelley, Erik Carson and his wife, Danna, and Chris Carson; and 13 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Icy Mary Hathaway; a son-in-law, Jerry Carson; and a great-grandson, Gavin Carson.
The service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Community Presbyterian Church in Chase with the Revs. Jesse and Arlene Patrick and John Schmitt officiating. Burial will be in Springdale Cemetery at Chase with military honors by the Fort Riley funeral detail. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Birzer Funeral Home in Lyons.
The family suggests memorials to Ralph's Ruts Retreat or Lyons Good Samaritan Center, and those can be sent in care of the funeral home, 212 West Ave. South, Lyons, 67554.