Oldest surviving Clinchfield employee, WW2 POW dies

George L. Hatcher. Photo courtesy Frank Crowe

The man thought to be the oldest surviving employee of the former Clinchfield Railroad has died.

Erwin, Tennessee-resident George L. Hatcher died on Memorial Day at a Veterans Affairs center in Johnson City. Hatcher worked for decades on the Clinchfield, which terminated in Elkhorn City.

In an interview with EKB News last year, Hatcher said he was engineer on the railroad’s famed Santa Train many times during his railroad career.

Hatcher was also a World War II veteran and a prisoner of war for 13 months in Germany after his B-17 bomber was shot down in 1944.

Hatcher will be laid to rest Saturday in Tennessee with full military honors. George Hatcher was 97.