Castle Valley Comments
January 16, 2014
by Ron Drake
Jan 16, 2014 | 1411 views | 0 0 comments | 424 424 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It is sad to report that two people with close ties to Castle Valley died last week, within a day of each other.

Dorr M. Hatch Sr. died Friday, Jan. 10 at Moab Regional Hospital after suffering a stroke a few days previous. He and his wife, Norma, moved to Castle Valley about 16 years ago to be closer to their son and daughter-in-law on Pace Lane.

Hatch served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was assigned to the USS Rocky Mount, an amphibious assault ship that was serving as a command ship for the Fifth and Sixth Amphibious Assault Groups and later, the Seventh Fleet. The ship was involved in the invasion and capture of the Marshall Islands until Kwajalein was completely secured. The ship also crossed the equator to capture Leyte, in the Philippine Islands, and also saw action and assault landings at Saipan, Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, Zamboanga, Mindanao, the Philippines and Tarakan Island, Borneo and Brunei Bay. He was married with two children at the time and had to leave his family again in 1953 to serve in the Korean War. He leaves behind his wife of 75 years, a son, Dorr Jr. (Gloria), of Castle Valley, a daughter, Saundra, of Moab and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was 97 years of age.

Debra Lynn Johnson Officer passed away Saturday, Jan. 11 in Ogden after losing a battle with cancer. She was 53 years old. Debbie moved to Castle Valley with her parents, Ken and Ruth Johnson, and siblings in 1977 and attended her senior year at Grand County High School. She married Kent Officer of Castle Valley on Aug. 14, 1979, and they had two daughters, Tabitha and Brooke, before they later divorced. After their marriage, they continued to live in Castle Valley for several years before the family moved to Wyoming, and she again lived in Castle Valley upon her return to Utah.

Debbie was a hard worker and was usually juggling two jobs at the same time while trying to survive the Moab economy. At the time of her death she was working at the Grand County Family Support Center and the La Quinta Inn. She was preceded in death by her father, Ken Johnson, in September 2012, and in addition to her children, she leaves behind her mother, Ruth, and sisters, Cindy Day of Ogden and Kristin Millis of Moab. She departed this life much too soon but leaves behind many fond memories for those who knew and loved her.


The Emergency Medical Responder 60-hour class continues in Castle Valley and is in the final weeks of training. Twenty students from the Castle Valley community and the DayStar Academy are meeting every Monday and Thursday to attend the mandatory classes to meet the certification requirements set by the Utah Bureau of Emergency Medical Services.

Once the classes are completed, the Castle Valley Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) team will be established and a non-transport ambulance will be put into service. The primary focus of the Castle Valley EMR team is to initiate immediate lifesaving care to critical patients who access the emergency medical system. The team members will possess the basic knowledge, under an emergency medical technician, to provide lifesaving interventions while awaiting additional medical response, and to assist higher-level personnel at the scene and during transport.


Thirty years ago “Castle Valley Comments” reported that officials of the Carlsberg Corporation, the developers of the Castle Valley River Ranchos, were to meet with the board of directors and membership during their monthly meeting but failed to show. They landed in Grand Junction in a corporate plane and rented a car, but couldn’t get up the Pace Hill Road because of a light covering of snow on the road. The threat of fog at the Grand Junction airport also influenced their decision to abandon their plans and fly back to sunny southern California.

The column also reported that Jim and Sally Rains were here from Jackson, Wyo., and were finishing their house on Homestead Lane. Dennis Watlez from Paris, France, was also in the valley and was staying at his cave house, which is located at the base of Porcupine Rim at the end of Cliff View Lane. JBCO Construction was hired to remove snow from the roads in the valley. Six inches of snow fell in the valley the previous week and the temperatures were down to a high of 30 and low of 3 during the week. A committee to gather information and input on the possibility of incorporating Castle Valley into a town met at the LDS Church.

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