Raymond Victor Hatting lived simply in his 83 years.
He was only 10 years old when his father passed away—barely old enough to follow his father’s dying wish that he take care of his mother. Ray never married and had no heirs. Throughout his life, he shared a room with his bachelor brother, Gunnar, and both men died in the same house where they were born. Ray never asked for much and he never took much, but he left a legacy that continues to significantly impact people and organizations such as Northwestern College.
Born December 12, 1923, in Minneapolis, Minn., Ray served two years during World War II as a radio technician on the aircraft carrier Villa Gulf in the South Pacific. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Minnesota.
While at the University, he declined an opportunity to play hockey so he could focus on his studies and continue to help out at the store. He earned his degree in electrical engineering but spent his life working with Gunnar in the family-owned grocery store, Hatting’s U-Save, in south Minneapolis.
Ray had many outside interests such as traveling, fishing, listening to all types of music and playing the banjo. One of the highlights of his life was being invited to “jam” with Reuben Ristrom and the Bourbon Street Boys jazz band.
Paul (Ray’s cousin) and Lorri Monteen recounted that Ray lived a conservative lifestyle and was painfully shy. So it was somewhat out of character when Ray signed up for dance lessons at an Arthur Murray studio so he could dance at his Minneapolis South High School 50th class reunion. According to his classmates, Ray danced every dance that night and went on to become an avid ballroom dancer.
“He was a real twinkle toes when he danced!” recalled Lorri. “His home was full of dancing trophies. He could dance with the ladies, but [because of his shyness] couldn’t hold a conversation with one of them for more than five minutes.” On September 24, 2007, Ray died “with his dancing shoes on” in the midst of preparing for his 60th class reunion.
As Ray’s personal estate representative, Paul thought settling the estate would be simple. But, as the old saying goes, “still waters run deep.” As Paul worked through Ray’s estate, a surprising and different picture of Ray emerged. Even though Ray didn’t belong to a church, his estate generously gifted five nonprofit organizations: The University of Minnesota, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, The American Bible Society, The Salvation Army and Northwestern College.
This came as a surprise to all, including Northwestern. “Nobody knew Ray well enough,” Paul said. “I think he got most of his solace and interaction in the faith through Northwestern College’s KTIS [radio]. It went back to when Billy Graham was the president of Northwestern. Ray supported anything Billy Graham did.”
Lorri got to know Ray a little better than most people when she would drive him to appointments instead of letting him take taxis. “He was so shy; he never shared his faith with me,” said Lorri. “But his will reflected his very strong faith in God.”
Planned Giving Director David Danielson was grateful and surprised when he received notice that Northwestern College was one of Ray’s beneficiaries. “Ray was truly a generous man and had a commitment to eternal values,” Danielson observed. “Without having ever met him, I can appreciate the depth of his faith and admire his generosity to charity and ministry-related organizations. Ray wanted to give back—and he gave back abundantly; ultimately, he gave back to the Lord.”
Ray may have been shy in life, but the message of his will clearly articulated his true values. In a way, Ray’s will ended up being his last words and best articulated his generosity and his love for the Lord.