A story that broke two weeks ago about a 97-year-old woman in Burlingame who was getting evicted from her home of 66 years has come to a sad and sudden end. Marie Hatch died Thursday night of reported natural causes following a brief hospitalization for a cold, as the San Mateo Times and Chronicle are reporting.
She had been suffering from a "severe cold," according to friends, and returned home Thursday after being hospitalized, only to pass away there.
Hatch's story struck a chord with many during the Bay Area's current housing crisis, since she was being threatened with eviction after so many decades in the same place. She had a verbal agreement with a landlord friend back in 1950 which had been upheld for two subsequent generations, as the property was passed to the friend's daughter and granddaughter. Only after the death of the granddaughter, Hatch and her 85-year-old roommate faced eviction by the current owner, who is the original landlord's grandson-in-law.
After the story spread across local print and TV media, a GoFundMe campaign set up for Hatch raised nearly $50,000 to fight the eviction. As Hatch said to the Mercury News, "Just leave me alone in my little sloppy house."
But now, suddenly, Hatch has passed away, and a lawyer who had been working on the case blames the stress of the eviction threat.
"From December 2015 when she first learned that [landlord] David Kantz intended to sell the house and believed he had a right to evict her in 60 days, Marie Hatch mentally and physically deteriorated because she was so scared, upset and distraught," says attorney Nancy Nishimura. "There is no doubt that her being served with a notice that she had to be out on the sidewalk brought about her death."
It is unclear what will now happen to the roommate, Georgia Rothrock, but Nishimura's associate Joe Cotchett, who first took on the case, says he will continue the eviction fight on behalf of Rothrock as well as Hatch's family.