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Wonderful mom presided over happy home

UTOPIA - The family of Isabella Hatt got through their first Christmas without their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother.

The 53-year cancer survivor died peacefully at the Fundy Nursing Home at 91 following a brief period of ailing health. She fell, and later suffered two strokes, her daughter Betty Marshall of St. George said this week.

She and her husband Arnold R. Hatt celebrated many years together until he died in 2005 a week shy of his 92nd birthday, Marshall said. He was buried on July 1, their 68th wedding anniversary.

They raised 12 children, 11 of them living today. They are also survived by 28 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. Their son, Kenneth, died earlier.

"She was just over a 50-year survivor of cancer," Marshall said.

"David was her baby when she took cancer," she said referring to her mother and younger brother.

Marshall, born in 1943, was 13 when her mother, became ill in 1956. Hatt, who was in her late 30s, was a mother of 10 children by then.

Betty Hatt, as she was known then, went to live with aunts. Their older sister, Gertrude, looked after the younger ones.

"She never really recovered," Marshall said, but her mother survived the radiation treatments and had two more children.

Arnold Hatt worked as a self-employed trucker. Isabella was a homemaker who made excellent bread, her daughter recalled.

Isabella was born June 16, 1918, a daughter of the late John Colby and Gertrude Mae (Shaw) (McNichol) Hall. She and Arnold Hatt raised their family at Utopia.

"Our house was always so full of company," Marshall said. "You never went out of our house hungry."

"It was just always a happy home," she said. "She was just a wonderful, wonderful mother."

Marshall remembers her mother and father in later years making molasses cookies together.

He stirred the contents of the mixing bowl as she no longer had the strength in her arm to do it. The smell in the kitchen would tell him when the cookies were done. He would help retrieve the hot sheet from the oven.

She played bingo, did word puzzles, knit and enjoyed cards - especially Crazy 8s. She liked shopping trips.

"And she loved hymns," Marshall said. "She had an old hymn book that was given to her from the Beaver Harbour Church years ago."

"She really knew a lot of the hymns out of that book," Marshall said. Her favourite was In the Garden.

She belonged to the St. George Baptist Church, where the funeral was held. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family.

"She was just an amazing woman to go through what she did," her daughter said.

SOURCE: New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, NB) - January 30, 2010.

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