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Longtime AmNews employee Hattie Doran passes at 68

Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 5:26 p.m.
Longtime AmNews employee Hattie Doran passes at 68

For more than 40 years, Hattie Doran was a vital cog in the operations at the Amsterdam News, overseeing accounts and making sure advertisers fulfilled their payment obligations. Now, someone else will have to assume those responsibilities. Mrs. Doran died of lung cancer at New York University Hospital on Monday, April 5, one day before her birthday.

"She was a warrior," said Dorothy Williams, who knew and worked with her throughout her tenure at the paper. "Hattie was a true friend, and she knew her craft and performed it well."

Very few people who arrived at the second floor at the paper escaped her all-seeing gaze. No matter the subject, she either had a ton of questions or some feisty responses. A cursory glance at the walls around her desk indicated her myriad interests, and none more passionate than her love of books.

Any day of the week would find her in the middle of a heated discourse with the paper's staff and reporters, each of them wary of her sharp riposte.

"She had a way with words and was a snappy wit," recalled Vernon Small, whose job it is to track the paper's returns. "More than anything, she was a diamond in the rough, a very genuine person, who didn't suffer fools kindly."

Born in Waynesboro, Ga., on April 6, 1941, Hattie Fulcher arrived in Harlem in 1948. She was a graduate of Washington Irving High School, where she acquired the clerical skills that served her so well at the Amsterdam News.

"My mother was extraordinarily generous, and many people, including me, found her a dependable person to rely on," said her daughter, Nancy. "Naturally, I will miss her in so many ways."

This reporter will always remember the long conversations on African-American literature with her. She possessed knowledge that rivaled some of the top critics in the field. It was stunning to know that such an unassuming clerk could sustain a long discussion on the writings of James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston and even the relatively obscure William Gardner Smith.

Hattie Fulcher Doran leaves a loving family to carry on her wonderful legacy, including her husband, Joseph Doran; her daughter, Nancy West, and her husband, Alejandro West; her son, Jay Doran; her mother, Elizabeth Fulcher; her brother, Frankie Fulcher; her grandchildren, Adrienne, Alessandra and Anthony West; and a host of friends, many of whom extended their good wishes.

A memorial service for her will be at Unity Funeral Home on Saturday, April 10 at 4 p.m.