Hatch Bailey, is indeed a positive voice for our city, Waco, Texas.

Our funeral director-in-charge and owner, Hatch Bailey, is indeed a positive voice for our city, Waco, Texas. In 2022, Hatch was asked to serve as the Ambassador of one of Waco's most treasured traditions -- Festival on the Brazos and as the name implies, each year’s Ambassador is selected, in part, because of his devotion to the greater Waco community. Hatch said he feels honored to be in the company of the many Ambassadors who came before him. Click on the link below to read Hatch's interview.

Hatch Mansell Bailey will serve as Ambassador at the 52nd annual Festival on the Brazos set for Friday, April 22, 2022 at the Waco Convention Center. A lifelong Wacoan, who is all about family and community, Bailey looks forward to representing his city throughout the festival weekend. “This is a tremendous honor,” Hatch said. “I feel very humbled. I’ve had people tell me from the time I was a teenager that I’m a great ambassador for Waco, but to me, it comes so easy to speak highly of Waco. I literally cannot think of one single drawback to our city. Not one. What’s not to like about Waco?” Ambassador Bailey said the title makes him feel validated for having always tried to be a positive voice for the city. “I really don’t think I do any more than others, and surely a lot less than some, but it does feel good to be the one recognized this year,” he said. “I accept the honor on behalf of many friends and family members who came before me and with whom I surround myself. This honor is for them.” Hatch is the son of the late Roberta Hatch and Arthur William (Bill) Bailey, Jr., also lifelong Wacoans. He has four sons, Baxter, Barrett, Brennan and Brooklin with his late wife Yvonne Mize Bailey. Baxter Hatch Bailey works alongside his father at the family business Wilkirson-HatchBailey, a local funeral home that celebrates its 97th anniversary this year. Barrett Mansell Bailey of Waco works in residential real estate with Coldwell Banker. Brennan Mize Bailey of Dallas is the Chief Product Officer for a freight technology startup based out of Dallas. Brennan and his wife, Laura, have a daughter, Lily Yvonne, and two sons, Luke Hartman and George Daniel. Brooklin Ray Bailey lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and plays pro golf on the Sunshine Tour and the Challenge Tour, which is European, as he’s an affiliate member of the European Tour. The family has been involved in the Festival on the Brazos for more than four decades, as Hatch was a Royal Escort in 1978. Three of his sons were Royal Escorts and the fourth was a Royal Attendant. “My wife and I were in the the ballroom scene one year and they kept wanting to tighten her corset and yet she was pregnant, but we weren’t telling anyone,” Hatch said. “We laughed about that for years. I’ve also sponsored a few members of the royal court from out of town and enjoyed that.” Hatch’s parents built a house that was “the ideal family home,” he said, when they were in their early 20s. They reared their three sons in it and lived there for 60 years until they died. From his parents, Hatch said he learned much about life — and living. “How to balance ambition and contentment, how to work with family in a family business, the power of a self-disciplined tongue, the power of a well delivered word, the importance of a balanced life, the pleasure in close friendships that span the decades,” he said. “Through watching them, I learned how to honor your parents, how to support your children as they become unique individuals, respect for others, the joy in quietly giving, how to prioritize. They showed me how to keep my relationship with Jesus Christ first — followed by my late wife and then our children and our family business. They taught me how to play, how to compromise, how to tithe, to honor a confidentiality, to consider other points of view, to forgive myself.” As an eighth grader, Hatch was a charter student of Vanguard College Preparatory School and graduated high school there in 1978. I graduated from Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science in 1982. He graduated from Baylor University with a BA degree in 1984 where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. “On the very first day of my freshman year, I was having breakfast in the dormitory and up walked a really cute girl with a beautiful smile,” Hatch said. “Her name was Yvonne and she asked if she could join me. Five years later, we married within walking distance from Baylor in the historic First Baptist Church of Waco.” Their children were the fifth generation of the family to be members of the church. Yvonne and Hatch were married one month short of 24 years when she died in 2007 from complications of Melanoma. “I’m not sure what she’d say about my being Ambassador, but I feel certain she wouldn’t let the honor go to my head,” he said. In 1925, Hatch’s great-grandfather Wilkirson, along with his son-in-law, Roy Hatch, who was Hatch’s grandfather, founded Wilkirson & Hatch Funeral Home. Today, the business is known as Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home. “When I was 17 years old, my father’s parents died just 10 days apart, which had a profound effect on my life,” Hatch said. “Overnight I felt the Lord calling me to join the folks there in serving families. I started the next summer and have been there ever since. One of my sons works with us in the business, representing the fifth generation of our family to do so.” When a loved one dies, it’s a sacred moment. Hatch said it means the world to him when a family calls him for help during such a tender time. “I consider it a great honor,” he said. “I feel it a great privilege to get to be with a family during just such a time. My profession allows me to experience deep connections with people and I love that. Frankly, I’m not much into shallow friendships, but rather I’m attracted to deep relationships, and I love that I get to work with such diverse families from all walks of life.” Hatch says he did not grow up in the funeral business, because neither of his parents worked there, but rather that he grew up around the funeral business. “My grandfather worked there, and he often took me there for one reason or another,” he said. “By the time I started working there, I already knew all my co-workers on a first name basis. I even already knew most of their spouses, as it really is a family atmosphere. My grandfather Hatch was my role model in my career. I learned a lot from several of my co-workers as well; however, each of them was trained by my grandfather, so he was really the role model for all of us.” Honesty and integrity are the qualities Hatch believes are most important in a business, as well as sincerity and thoughtfulness when it comes to the funeral business. Causes that are nearest and dearest to Hatch’s heart are ones dealing with safety, health and education, especially when serving children and the elderly. He has served as president of the board of directors for two private schools. Most recently, he has been serving on the board of directors of Community Healthcare of Texas, which is the largest non-profit hospice organization in the state. “I feel it’s important for everyone to pitch in and do something,” Hatch said. “Every little thing we do makes a difference. I feel it’s great for people to get involved at a young age so that it becomes a way of life.” When he thinks of Festival on The Brazos, Hatch said he thinks it’s a fun way to honor some people who’ve been very active in the community, offering themselves in service to others. “Many out-of-town guests are invited to participate in the Festival and those are ones who’ve been active in community services in the towns and cities where they live,” he said. “By honoring young people who are active in community service, it promotes more and more community service and that’s a very good thing for everyone.” A member of First Baptist Church of Waco, Hatch said he loves the diversity of its members. “My church is like home base to me,” he said. “I don’t claim to be there in person on a regular basis. My attendance and involvement is more sporadic. But please make no mistake about it: I am most definitely a man of faith with a very personal relationship with Jesus Christ, The Lord. He is The Son of God, my personal Savior and best friend.” Hatch designed a family crest that is based on one pictured on a book of Bailey history, and on the crest written in Latin is the phrase, “Dei Providentia Me Sustinet” which translates “The Divine Guidance of God Sustains Me.” He even had it carved in stone above his fireplace at home. Hatch is involved in a weekly Bible study, which is on Zoom, with his brothers, Roy and Wes. “We call it Bailey Brothers Bible Study or BBBS. Typically we have 70 folks from around the nation and other continents who join us. It’s very special to my brothers and me to be doing this together.” In his spare time, Hatch said he is not one who has to be doing something and that he’s not a thrill seeker. “I don’t even need to go anywhere,” he said. “I’m pretty content just sitting on the screened porch or fireside and watching sports or Netflix on TV. I especially love these times when shared with family or friends. I enjoy the finer things in life, so to speak and yet, I’m actually pretty casual and simplistic. I enjoy fine dining, but it’s hard to beat greasy comfort food. I enjoy browsing through a beautiful antique shop or art gallery; however, more times than not, you’re just going to find me in old jeans and a tee shirt and likely barefoot. I thoroughly enjoy being with friends and family although I’m one who needs some alone time too.” Though he does not travel as much as he used to, Hatch said a favorite place of his has been Jackson Hole, Wyoming. More recently, Hatch has enjoyed attending The Masters with a couple of his sons and cheering on the Baylor men’s basketball team with one of his sons at The Final Four and our football team with another of my sons at The Sugar Bowl. “I enjoy sitting by the pool in the evenings and putting down a cheeseburger and fries followed by a vanilla malt,” he said. “More than other pleasures in life I love spending time with my grandchildren. There’s just nothing like it. They call me “Skinny” which makes me smile.” Hatch’s sidekick is an eight-year-old tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Benkenhall Sunshine Jackson Bailey. “I call him Jackson because of my love for Jackson Hole,” he said. “He goes to the office with me more days than not.” In true Ambassador fashion, Hatch is one of Waco’s biggest cheerleaders. “Waco is often a misperceived city,” he said. “It’s often looked at as a small town, but that’s really just because it’s surrounded by large cities, including the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, Austin, San Antonio and Houston. We’ve got the best location within the state. We’re big enough to have most everything you’d want, yet small enough that it’s a friendly, charming town. I’ve heard Waco described as what Austin used to be. I’ve also heard Waco described as the spot within the United States where the deep south meets the wild wild west. It’s kind of a hard city to describe in words, but one thing’s for sure: the people here are second to none. It’s a fantastic town in which to rear a family." Hatch thinks one of Waco’s best qualities is its ability to attract and keep good people. “I am grateful that Waco has people from all walks of life,” he said. “I love the diversity found in Waco. One way you can really tell a lot about someone is by how they care for others. My career affords me a front row seat to observe how Waco people care for others during what’s usually one of the hardest times, if not the hardest time, in a person’s life. I’d put our people up against the people of any city not just in Texas, but in the United States. I believe you can tell how successful a city is not necessarily by the number of people in the city, but by the diversity of the people in the city. Using that philosophy as a measuring stick so to speak, it’s clear that Waco is a very successful city.” Some of Hatch’s favorite spots about town: the Foyer of Meditation in The Armstrong Browning Library, which is located on the Baylor campus; the historic church St. Francis on the Brazos; Ridgewood Country Club, next to Lake Waco; El Conquistador on Waco Drive, Diamondbacks downtown, and Dubl-R Old Fashioned Hamburgers. "My very favorite place, though, is at the dinner table with a handful of family and friends who are like family, whether it be at home or in their home,” Hatch said. “I don't cook, but I love for others to cook in my kitchen. Conversations are always interesting and there's plenty of laughter and often some real fun belly laughs, as I call them." Over the past two years, which have been tumultuous for all, Hatch said he has tried to grow from the experience. “I’ve faced the reality of challenges that came our way,” he said. “And I’ve observed how others handled it. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. It depends on many factors. I’ve tried hard not to judge anyone, but rather to just be supportive to those who – just like me – are trying, really trying to make the most of it, to learn from it, to come out stronger, less judgemental, more compassionate. In a word, better for it.” He believes events like Festival on the Brazos can help people heal. “I believe that life is a gift from God and meant to be like a festival,” he said. “But we live amid chaos, sadness and tremendous challenges. Festivals help us stay balanced as we live amid all the tough stuff in this fallen world so take in plenty of festivals along life’s way, in moderation of course.” Throughout the festival weekend, Hatch said he hopes his sincere friendliness and genuine appreciation for everyone involved, especially all of our out of town guests, comes through loud and clear. “I want our out-of-town guests to recognize that Waco is truly a very nice city with very nice people, that we have a lot to offer, and that we’re a great spot for a long weekend getaway,” he said. “It’s a wonderful location for a business, because we are a city with something for everyone whether a frontline worker, the CEO or anyone in between. The fact is that we really do all need each other at some point and to some degree. With all our diversities, we can truly compliment each other and get along beautifully, quite harmoniously. It’s a great place to earn an education, to be a newlywed, to start a family, to rear a family, to be an empty nester, to be a grandparent, to be retired, to be an elderly citizen — we have it all."

by Gretchen Eichenberg

Leave a Reply 1 comments

> More Comments

We appreciate your interest in this topic
In accordance with our policy, this
message has been declined.