John Hatcher, 60-year Missionary to Brazil, Meets His Savior Face-to-Face

“…’Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’”  -Matthew 25:23

John Albert Hatcher, died on May 14, 2022, at his son’s home in Clermont, Florida, where he lived comfortably for the past eight years under the loving care of Paul and Wanda Hatcher, his eldest son and daughter-in-law.  

John was born in 1925 in Alexandria, Kentucky, to Albert and Beatrix Hatcher. He was the second of four children, reared in a God-fearing home on a dairy farm. He trusted the Lord Jesus at age nine after hearing the Gospel story of the three crosses, which he later made into a visual pamphlet, translated into three languages, and shared with hundreds of people in his latter years. 

Upon finishing high school at Campbell County H.S., amidst World War II, he signed up as a volunteer for the U.S. Merchant Marines. He served proudly for four years, including action on D + 1 day at Normandy, France. After the war he enrolled in Georgetown Baptist College, Georgetown, Kentucky, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree. He went on to earn a Master’s in Theology at Lexington Baptist College and a Doctorate in Theology at Luther Rice Seminary.  

In his first year at Georgetown College he met his wonderful wife, Alta McKeehan, and they were married for 69 years. Throughout their college years they worked together in home missions in Kentucky. After graduating, he pastored in Shelbyville and Beattyville, Kentucky, and finally in Alton, Illinois before they followed God’s call to be life-long missionaries to Brazil, sponsored by Baptist Faith Missions.  

He arrived in Brazil in 1955 with Alta and their children, and dedicated the first 19 years to church planting in the Amazon Valley, working in the city of Manaus and in villages along the Amazon River. During those years John founded Batista das Americas School and the Manaus Baptist Theological Seminary, and was involved in starting several churches. His many skills and talents were put to God’s use: piloting his boat, building churches and school buildings, making pews and desks, educating and training young pastors, translating theology books, printing Christian literature and song books, evangelizing and teaching by radio, using puppets, ventriloquism and magic to reach people for Christ. John played the saxophone and clarinet and loved Christian music.  

In 1976 John and Alta felt led to move to the city of Garça, São Paulo, in southern Brazil. There he started ten churches in ten cities where there were no Baptist churches, along with a bus ministry and Bible Institute through which the churches were serviced with leadership.  

In 1989 John moved 200 miles further south to Urai, Parana, Brazil. In the next years he repeated the church planting and leadership training, resulting in seven thriving churches in that region, each with its building paid for.  

John Hatcher was known for his unwavering faith in God, incredible discipline and work ethic. As his late mission director, Hafford Overbey put it: John Hatcher works!  

All of John and Alta’s children are actively involved in church work, serving the Lord as pastors and missionaries.  

Only Heaven will tell the extent of John Hatcher’s influence in spreading the Gospel to the nation of Brazil. He is loved and will be missed by thousands. He fought the good fight, finished his course, kept the faith.  

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Alta McKeehan Hatcher, his daughter, Lynn McGary, his unborn son, buried on the banks of the Nhamunda River in the Amazon, and his brother, Charles Hatcher. He is survived by two sisters Neree Woods and Jessie Sills, his loving children, Ranaah Paul Hatcher (Wanda) of Clermont, Florida, John Mark Hatcher (Judy) of Toulouse, France, David Judson Hatcher (Pennie) of Manaus, Brazil, Kathy Amazonas Barros (Odali) of Iranduba, Brazil, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  


Visitation | Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Becker Funeral Home | 806 W. Minneola Ave. | Clermont, Florida 34711 | Directions

Funeral Service | Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Becker Funeral Home | 806 W. Minneola Ave. | Clermont, Florida 34711 | Directions

Graveside Service with Military Honors | Wednesday, May 25, 2022 | 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery | 5525 US-1 | Mims, Florida 32754 | Directions

Formal Obituary


In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to John’s lifelong passion, missions.
You may do so at:
Baptist Faith Missions
c/o Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online.
Please designate to the “General Fund in memory of John A Hatcher”

Condolences may be made to the family at:
Paul Hatcher | 15905 Mercott Ct | Clermont, FL 34714 

Click here to read the Autobiography of Alta Hatcher: “The Story of My Life as a Missionary”

“Disse-lhe o seu senhor: Muito bem, servo bom e fiel; sobre o pouco foste fiel, sobre muito te colocarei; entra no gozo do teu senhor.”  –Mateus 25:23

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Missionary Update: John & Alta Hatcher in Brazil [January 2014]

Missionaries John and Alta Hatcher have served the Lord in Brazil since 1955, planting over 70 churches that are still in existence.

January 1, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Happy New Year to each of you. May God bless you this year and give you a blessed year for His honor and glory.

Alta and I have had some great blessings in the final month of 2013. Our son, David, and his wife, Pennie have made these days unforgettable. David came to Urai and took Alta and I for a trip to Florida to visit with my sister, Neree and my sister, Jessie, and her husband, Joe Sills. While there we enjoyed eight days on a cruise. This was a delightful time. I was able to relive some of my Merchant Seaman days.

Returning to Brazil, we went to Manaus to David’s and Pennies’s home. Paul and Wanda, Kathy and Odali live there so we were able to visit our children and grandchildren. It was a marvelous time.

During the month of December, the NOVA IGREJA BATISTA, where David, our son is Pastor, presented a beautiful drama, THE CHRISTMAS DREAM, a story that takes place in a toy factory. The presentation is one hour and a half duration, and uses nearly two thousand persons. It tells the wonderful story of Jesus, from the angel’s announcement to Mary until the resurrection of Jesus. The presentation is breathtaking.

The drama was presented thirty-one times. 92,000 attended the drama and 8,500 persons made decisions, the majority of these were trusting Jesus as Saviour. The story of this church, originally the CHAPADA BAPTIST CHURCH, is one of the greatest works of God’s Grace that I have seen.

Organized about fifty years ago with 24 members it now has an attendance of nearly 5,000 each Sunday. The work was started in the boonies; today the area is the main part of a city of two million inhabitants. This church has also started other congregations in other cities and States. Praise the Lord for His Blessings!

The Lord willing, we will be returning to Urai on January 7. Paul will be taking us back since we are not able to safely travel alone. The TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH where Paul is pastor has done many church plants in Manaus and several of the northeast States of Brazil. This Church has made over sixty church plants. Praise the Lord!

Odali and Kathy have moved north to Manaus to begin works on the rivers and in new villages that are being developed with the development of new roads.

Once more Alta and I wish you a New Year with God’s blessings, as together we continue to go preach, baptize and plant churches.

We love you in the Lord.
John A. and Alta Hatcher

John and Alta Hatcher

Caixa Postal 112
Urai, PR, Brazil 86280-000

Click here to give.

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Missionary Update: John & Alta Hatcher [March 2013]

Missionaries John and Alta Hatcher have served the Lord in Brazil since 1955, planting over 70 churches that are still in existence.

February 25, 2013

Dear Brethren and Fellow-Workers:

Here in Urai the sun is shining brightly and it is a beautiful summer day. You may remember that when it is winter in the States it is summer for us here. It has been a hot summer with sufficient rain for the crops. The fields are very beautiful and harvest of the soy bean crop has begun.

PERSONAL–Alta and I are doing well for two oldies. Her eyes continue in perfect condition after the two cataract surgeries. My physical condition is going down slowly. We have been able to go to the city of Assai each Sunday.

ASSAI–Praise the Lord for His blessing for the work in Assai. This month a family from the Chapada Church is being sent to take care of the work here. The family is a young couple with two children. Please pray for them.

URAI–The church in Urai, under the leadership of Marcio Moraes, is doing well in the home church and in the three congregations. There is a wonderful group of young people, both men and women, who are dedicated to serving the Lord. The Seminary Classes begin again this month. Please pray for the teachers and eight to ten students.

PHYSICAL NEED–Sonha dos Santos, wife of Valdir dos Santos, pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cornelio Procopio, had her left breast removed because of cancer. She is going through much suffering with the chemical treatment. Please remember to pray for this wonderful saint of the Lord.

WORK IN BRAZIL–Remember, the country of Brazil is larger in territory than the 48 continental United States. The works that have been started by missionaries of BFM or that are being started are going very well and some have grown to thousands in attendance. You who have given for this mission work can be proud of the families you have supported and the result that God has given. Alta and I count it a great privilege to have served the Lord in this country for over 58 years.

Your servants in Christ,
John A. and Alta Hatcher

Caixa Postal 112
Urai, PR, Brazil 86280-000

Click here to give.

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Missionary Update: John & Alta Hatcher in Brazil [July 2012]

Missionaries John and Alta Hatcher have served the Lord in Brazil since 1955, planting over 70 churches that are still in existence.

July 1, 2012

Dear Brethren and Fellow Helpers,

Praise the Lord; He has given us a wonderful month. Proverbs 17:6 speaks of the children’s children being a blessing for the old. This month our twenty-second great grandchild was born in Manaus. His name is Noah. His parents are Leigh Ann and Michael Samples. Leigh Ann is Paul and Wanda Hatcher’s daughter and Michael works with Paul in the School and Seminary. There were some complications in the birth but Mother and Baby are doing well after being born by C-Section.

Another good news is about the two younger daughters of Amanda and Philip Hatcher who live in France. The two older girls were saved and baptized last month. This month the two younger girls told their Mother and Dad they had trusted Jesus as Savior. We are thankful.

DRIVER’S LICENSE—In my last letter I mentioned the difficulty in getting my Brazilian Driver’s License. I received it after almost three months; it is good for two years.

ASSAI—Alta and I still make the trip to Assai every Sunday morning and we rejoice that we are still able to go. Please pray for this city of 20,000 people. Three different families whose children started coming have taken them out to take them to another church; they never attended any place before the children started coming to our Sunday School. Alta plans and has a great lesson for the children each week. Pray that the Lord will change the hearts of those parents.

URAI—The work is going well in Urai and the missions in Sussumo and Rancho Alegre. There are five or six young people who attend the Seminary and they are very active in the Lord’s work.

Great news from Manaus. The work where Paul pastors is going great and the Chapada Baptist Church where David and Pennie work is being greatly blessed. This month there were 360 people who trusted the Lord. All of these are followed up with special classes for new converts. Last Sunday there were over 3,000 in Sunday School. They have two services each Sunday night and they will soon have to go to two Sunday School hours in the morning.

The OLDIES—We praise the Lord we are still able to do and go. For our joy and contentment Alta and I still play for half an hour four or five times a week. She plays the organ and I play my Sax.

We thank you for your prayers and support.

Sincerely, in the Name above every name,

John and Alta Hatcher

Caixa Postal 112
Urai, PR, Brazil 86280-000

Click here to give.

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Missionary Update: John Mark and Judy Hatcher in France [April 2012]

Missionaries John Mark and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making,”

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the name of Christ from Southern France, which is north of most of you. We are approximately on the same latitude as Toronto, Canada. Yesterday we arrived back home from Manaus, Brazil which is just south of the Equator. So, we are a bit off keel time wise and climate wise. Some may think that I am always off keel.

We were in Manaus to see my parents and siblings. Though we are able to speak with dad and mom weekly by phone we wanted to be able to be with them for a face to face visit. Dad turns 87 on April 30 and mom will turn 87 in September. They continue to serve the Lord faithfully. They are still involved in a church plant about 30 minutes drive from their house. It was a great blessing to visit for about 10 days with the family, including Paul and Wanda’s children and grandchildren. We share in common not only family ties but spiritual family ties. We were also able to enjoy worshiping together with many of our Brazilian brothers and sisters in Christ and had the opportunity to speak and preach several times.

Two days before leaving France we had another meeting with youth. This time we had a progressive dinner. We had nibbles and salad at the first home, spaghetti and meatballs at the second home and dessert at the last home. Most importantly, we had spiritual food at all three homes. At each place someone gave their testimony about how they were saved and we presented the Gospel. Time in vehicles between homes was also a valuable opportunity to discuss spiritual matters and answer questions on a personal level. We have two more meetings with youth scheduled before the end of the Spring semester. This is presently an open door for reaching young people who are desperately in need of Christ in a godless society. We are a bit saddened by the fact that one of the teenage girls who has been most effective in bringing friends is leaving this week to spend the rest of the school year in Germany as a part of her learning German program.

On the next to last Sunday of March, two of our regular families communicated the news that they were being transferred elsewhere with their jobs. This will leave a sizable dent in the congregation because each of these young couples has three grade school aged children; ten people gone at once.

We have been praying for the Spring conference. May God used what took place there to help us all in the service of the Lord. Thanks for your faithful support.

Until next month,
John and Judy in France

John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France

Click here to donate to BFM.

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