Richard Gilbert Hutchins

Hutchins—Richard Gilbert Hutchins, 90, on September 14, 2022, with his loving daughters at his side at Foxdale Village, a Quaker retirement community in State College, Pa.

Dick was born on September 1, 1932, to Fred Clare Hutchins and Leata Leonne Harder Hutchins in Flint, Michigan. He was the fourth of six children. As a youth, Dick loved to play sports, particularly baseball, and to roam the fields in his rural neighborhood. During the Korean War, Dick was recognized as a conscientious objector and gave two years of service on a “boys farm” mentoring foster youth. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Central Michigan University and two degrees (a juris doctor and a master’s in library science) from the University of Michigan.

While a student, Dick began attending Ann Arbor (Mich.) Meeting, where he met his future wife, Mary Louise Janssen. Neither had been raised Quaker, but each felt a strong resonance with Friends’ testimonies on nonviolence, equality, simplicity, and integrity. In 1963, Dick and Mary married under the care of the meeting and enjoyed 59 years of loving partnership. They raised their daughters, Linda and Sharon, in Iowa City, Iowa; Miami, Fla; and West Orange, N. J., where Dick served as director of law libraries at the University of Iowa, the University of Miami, and Seton Hall University. Later they moved to Rockford, Ill.; St. John’s, Mich.; and Coldwater, Mich., for Mary’s career.

While Dick never formally joined the Religious Society of Friends, he and Mary attended Quaker meetings wherever they lived, including Ann Arbor Meeting; Iowa City Meeting; Miami Meeting; Montclair (N.J.) Meeting; Rock Valley Meeting in Rockford, Ill.; Pine River Worship Group in Mount Pleasant, Mich.; and State College (Pa.) Meeting. Dick was delighted to discover later in life, through genealogical research, that his ancestors on the Worden side were members of the first Quaker meeting in the American colonies in Massachusetts.

Dick is remembered for his lifelong passion for justice, strong sense of integrity, gentle manner, and a playful, loving spirit. Throughout his life, he promoted peace, racial justice, access to information, and civil rights. In the 1960s, Dick helped to integrate restaurants in Michigan as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In the 1970s, he supported young men to discern whether they were conscientious objectors. He also testified before Congress to establish law libraries as recipients of the Federal Depository Library Program. In retirement, Dick volunteered for the American Civil Liberties Union.

In 2002, Dick and Mary moved to Foxdale Village. Both were active members of Foxdale. Dick served as chair of the Safety Committee and president of the Residents’ Association and, along with Mary, warmly welcomed potential and new Foxdale residents. When Mary’s health declined, Dick cared for her devotedly, keeping her loving company.

Dick was predeceased by his wife, Mary Hutchins; and his five siblings.

He is survived by two children, Linda Hutchins-Knowles (Brian) and Sharon Hutchins (James Nugen); two grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

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