In Memoriam: Tom Hatton

Thomas Edward Hatton, who flew fighter jets in World War II and later went on to become one of Montgomery County’s most prominent Pontiac dealers, passed away late last month at the age of 99.

According to his obituary published in The Washington Post, following his military service in North Africa and England, Hatton got a local auto dealer to take a chance and hire him as an office manager. He worked his way up, eventually becoming a sales manager at a Prince George’s County dealership owned by C.L. Fenner. Fenner moved that Plymouth dealership to Rockville in 1964, and Hatton came with him; Hatton purchased the dealership from Fenner in 1969.

From 1969 to 1995, Hatton operated Tom Hatton Pontiac on Rockville Pike, appearing as himself in several local television advertisements where we was known as “The Judge.” When Hatton bought the dealership from his longtime boss, it was located in the middle of a then-sleepy strip between White Flint and downtown Rockville. By the time he sold the land in the mid-1990s to a developer that built a Best Buy on the property, that part of Rockville Pike had grown drastically.

Tom Hatton was an avid fisherman and golfer, and he continued to play into his 90s. WANADA would like to express our condolences to his family members, including his wife Sally and his four children. According to his obituary, his family requests that donations be made in his honor to either Montgomery Hospice, or the Interfaith Chapel at Leisure World in Montgomery County. According to the obituary, a Celebration of Life will be held at a future date.

We thank Tom Hatton for his service and dedication to his country, and his decades as a leader in Maryland’s dealer community. He will be missed.

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