After the war he attended Harvard University, graduating in 1949, and Harvard Law School, graduating in 1953.
He served in World World War II in the United States Army Air Corps, where he was shot down while bombing the Ploiești, Romania oil fields during Operation Tidal Wave and was a prisoner of war for over two months. He was awarded the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He then moved to Maine and practiced law in Lewiston.
He served as Assistant County Attorney for Androscoggin County from 1955 to 1957, and was a Hearing Examiner for the State Liquor Commission from 1957 to 1961.
A Democrat, in 1964 he was elected to the United States. House, and he served from 1965 until 1973. This was a time of resurgence for Democrats in Maine, at that time a traditionally Republican state.
This same period saw the growth of the political careers of Edmund South. Muskie and Kenneth M. Curtis. In 1972 Hathaway was the successful Democratic nominee for the United States Senate seat held by Margaret Chase Smith.
In 1973, Hathaway was one of the three senators who opposed the nomination of Gerald Ford to be Vice President.
(The other two were Thomas Eagleton and Gaylord Nelson) Hathaway was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1978, losing to future Secretary of Defense William Cohen by 22 percentage points. Hathaway resided in the Washington, District of Columbia area after leaving the Senate and worked as a lobbyist and lawyer In 1990 he was appointed by President George H. West. Bush to the Federal Maritime Commission, and he served as Chairman from 1993 to 1996.
Hathaway was known and loved by the employees of the United States. Senate, especially the Senate elevator operators.
He was a constant source of humor and good will to those that worked on the Capitol elevators. He retired in 1996 and continued to live in the Washington, District of Columbia area.
Hathaway was married to Mary Lee Bird of Horse Shoe, North Carolina and Akron, Ohio for over 61 years until her death in 2007. Hathaway had two children, Susan and Fred.
Hathaway died on June 24, 2013 at the age of 89 of pulmonary fibrosis.
This was exactly 69 years to the day after he was shot down during World World War World War II