Mary Louise Janssen Hutchins

Hutchins—Mary Louise Janssen Hutchins, 85, on March 29, 2022, peacefully, with her loving husband and daughters at her side, at Foxdale Village, a Quaker continuing care community in State College, Pa. Born on February 8, 1936, in Saginaw, Mich., Mary was the elder daughter of Rev. Herman Martin Janssen and Margaret May Plewes Janssen. She and her sister, Elizabeth, attended public schools in Sedalia, Mo.; Zeeland, Mich.; Harbor Beach, Mich.; and Saranac Lake, N.Y. After two years at the College of Wooster in Ohio, Mary transferred to the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, where she lived in an honors dorm. She spent a summer in France at a workcamp rebuilding devastation resulting from WWII. Mary obtained a master’s degree in library science from the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. She began her library career by serving as a public librarian in Battle Creek, Ann Arbor, and Flint.

Mary attended the young Friends group at Ann Arbor (Mich.) Meeting, where she met her future husband, Richard Gilbert Hutchins. Mary and Richard married on July 6, 1963, under the care of Ann Arbor Meeting.

Mary was active in Quaker meetings where she lived. Issues of nonviolence, racial justice, simple living, and compassion for all helped center her life. Mary had a lifelong love of classical music, playing the piano, violin, and, in her younger years, French horn.

In 1966, Mary and Dick moved to Iowa City, Iowa, where their daughters, Linda and Sharon, were born. When the family moved to Miami, Fla., in 1976, Mary worked part-time at the University of Miami’s Law School Library. She was an active member of Miami Meeting and, together with her family, enjoyed attending the yearly meeting and half-yearly meeting gatherings of Southeastern Yearly Meeting.

In 1980, Mary and her family moved to West Orange, N.J. Mary served as a reference librarian at Verona Public Library and was an active member of Montclair (N.J.) Meeting. In 1986, Mary accepted a position as director of Reference Services at the Northern Illinois Library System and moved with Richard to Rockford, Ill. In 1988, they moved to St. Johns, Mich. Mary served as director of Bement Public Library and attended Pine River Meeting in Mount Pleasant. After successfully rallying the St. Johns community to fund relocation of the library to more spacious quarters in 1988, Mary and Richard moved to Coldwater, Mich. Mary culminated her lengthy career as a librarian by serving as the director of the Branch District Library.

In 2002, Mary and Dick moved to Foxdale Village, where Mary joined State College Meeting and continued her lifelong practice of service to others and community. She led the Sunshine Singers group for residents of Anthony House, regularly transported residents in wheelchairs to appointments and events, invited perspective and new Foxdale residents to meals, delivered newspapers to residents, was an enthusiastic member of the senior hiking club, assisted with Foxdale garage sales, read to students at State College Friends School, and was a hospice volunteer and research study subject at Penn State. Her many contributions to Foxdale and the broader community led to her recognition as Volunteer of the Year by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Centre County. When health permitted, Mary could often be seen picking up garbage along Foxdale’s border with University Avenue or taking walks with Richard.

Mary is survived by her husband, Richard Hutchins; two children, Linda Hutchins-Knowles (Brian) and Sharon Hutchins (James Nugen); two grandchildren; a sister, Elizabeth Janssen Koopman; many nieces and nephews; and several grandnieces and grandnephews.

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