Conley "Reece" Hathorn
11/12/1999 - 06/18/2022
Obituary For Conley "Reece" Hathorn
Conley “Reece” Hathorn passed away on June 18, 2022, at the age of 22 in a car accident – three weeks shy of his final day in the Marine Corps. Reece was a son, brother, grandson, brother-in-law, nephew, cousin, everyone’s best friend, rugger, avid-golfer, Marine, and an absolute daredevil.
Reece was born in 1999, alongside his identical twin brother, Christopher, in Houston, Texas. Although born at the tail-end of 90’s, Reece loved telling his older sisters that he was a “90’s” kid, just to get under their skin.
Before they were born, the twins were diagnosed with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome – a diagnosis where baby “A” took all of the nutrients from baby “B.” Tina and Conley were told that the likelihood of survival was slim. As baby “B,” Reece had less than a 10% chance of survival. Doctors encouraged the family to prepare for the likeliest outcome – they would bring one baby home, at best. In typical Reece fashion, he wasn’t about to be underestimated. Tina and Conley knew that God had his hand in this, and they were going to have two, strong boys, and they did. The outpouring of love, prayers, and support during this time was felt all over the world, much like the family feels today.
Reece began his life in Texas. We always say it takes a village, and with Reece it really did. At a young age, he very quickly got the nickname “Rooster.” Whenever our Great Uncle “Boppa” would bring the horses in or out of the stalls of the barn, he would tell the boys to stand in the feed room and to not cross the line. Christopher would stand obediently. Reece, on the other hand, would stick his neck out as far as he possibly could, without falling over the line. From there on out, Reece was nicknamed “Rooster.” This was a metaphor for the Reece’s life, always pushing every boundary, while wearing a giant smirk on his face. Reece was one of the toughest people we all knew, yet he would still crawl in your lap and love on you like a big baby, no matter his age.
From the time the boys were little, their dad would take them golfing. This is where Reece’s love of golf began. One time on the course, their dad and their Uncle John were teeing off, when out of the corner of Conley’s eye he saw Reece push Christopher off the seat of the golfcart. Christopher landed on the break, which released it, and down the hill they began to roll quickly towards the lake. Conley and John frantically dropped their clubs and began chasing after them. The boys made it out unscathed, but the daredevil adventures began.
The Hathorn kids grew up all over the world. It wasn’t until living in the UAE that Reece and Christopher found the sport of rugby. After moving back to the states and trying out football, Reece knew his heart was on the rugby pitch – that’s when he found Bearden Rugby. Christopher and Reece made a dynamic duo on the pitch. Reece was a phenomenal rugby player. It did not matter the stature or rank of his opponent; he was taking them down. He carried that grit and vigor to his time as a United States Marine. Reece hated the bureaucracy of being a Marine, but he LOVED his guys, he loved being in the field, and he found so much humor in “enduring the suck.”
Last week Reece was able to take leave and be with many of his family and friends in Tennessee. He had the time of his life golfing and fishing with his dad, sitting by his mom while she played cards, talking about life with his oldest sister, in constant contact with his other sister and brother who could not be there, camping by the river, and being with so many friends.
Reece’s first family was the Hathorn, Scalf, and Wolcott crew, his second family was rugby, and his third was the Marines.
Reece leaves behind an awesome mom, his namesake dad, a brother and his built-in best friend, a sister that always tried to outshoot him, a sister that calmy took care of all of them, loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and more best friends than you could count. And while his siblings emphatically claim they were each his best friend, you did not know Reece and not feel like he was your best friend too.
The last week of Reece’s life was the most joyful and at peace he has ever been, everyone who saw him said the same. When leaving the Marines, Reece was going into military contracting – from one dangerous job to the next. Because of his job in the Marines and this new opportunity, Reece forced many conversations with his family about him living a good life and being ok with dying. Reece told his mom, “If anything ever happens to me, I don’t want you to be sad.” His mom said, “But I will be sad, Reece.” Reece’s response was, “Then mom, it’s ok to be sad for a little bit, but you can’t be sad for long. You have to live your life – being happy for me.” Let this message be for everyone who loved him. Be sad for a little bit, but be happy for a lifetime, just like Rooster would’ve wanted.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to Reece’s memorial rugby scholarship to spread the grit and spirit of rugby throughout East Tennessee that meant so much to Reece: https://www.gofundme.com/f/reeces-rugby-scholarship.
Visitation will begin at Kingston Church of Christ on Saturday, June 25, starting at 0830. Following visitation, we will have a celebration of his life at 1000. This will be followed by a military honors ceremony at the Tennessee Rugby Park (8051 Oak Ridge Highway, Knoxville, TN 37931) beginning at noon. For those who are unable to attend, you will be able to live stream the memorial service and the military honors from the Kingston Church of Christ’s Facebook page. Kyker Funeral Home of Kingston is serving the Hathorn Family.
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