Jim D. Hatt, 61, of Apache Junction passed away October 12, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona. Jim was born in Michigan in 1949. He is survived by his sister Shelly Waller and his friend Doris Abbott.
Jim Hatt first heard the story of the Lost Dutchman Mine from his great-grandfather, Earl Arthur Hatt, in 1956. Earl had known members of the Petrasch family personally; they were among the earliest searchers for the lost mine of Jacob Waltz (the Dutchman). Earl maintained little more than a casual interest in what eventually grew to be one of the most famous legends in the history of lost mines in the entire Southwest. The story smoldered through four generations of the Hatt family until it fell upon Jim’s ears and burned into his soul. He came to believe the Lost Dutchman Mine was one of the locations hinted at on the Peralta Stone Maps.
Jim dreamt of going to Arizona and searching for the lost mine all of his life, but it was not until 1989 when his children were grown, that he felt free to pursue his own dreams. Leaving a lucrative career in commercial nuclear power, he began to live on intermittent consulting contracts in the nuclear field, and odd jobs around Apache Junction, Arizona. He dedicated more and more time to chasing the legend, a decision that he never regretted in the years that passed since.
In 1998 Jim was selected as one of five men to be profiled in a documentary filmed for A&E about the search for the Lost Dutchman Mine. Also profiled in the documentary were Tom Kollenborn, Bob Corbin, Clay Worst and Ron Feldman. One day of filming was dedicated to an interview of Senator John McCain filmed in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains, where as a younger man McCain left his own footprints along the rocky trails in the land of legends.
In 2009 Jim set up and managed DesertUSA's forum on the Lost Dutchman and the Peralta Stone Maps. He always looked for the truth, and ran a controlled forum so that only accurate information got posted.
Jim found out he had lung cancer in November 2010, and worked hard to control it and to stay involved in the things that were most important to him. The cancer took his voice, and speaking became difficult for him. Jim Hatt's input and experience will be missed on DesertUSA's forums.
The staff at DesertUSA will miss this fine man, keep him in your prayers.