Alice M. Hutchins, 97, a former resident of Oak Park from 1954-2004, died on March 22, 2013, at the Courtyard at Seasons in Cincinnati, Ohio. She had been in declining health since December 2012. Born in Constantine, Mich., to Christian and Phoebe Miller, she most recently had resided in Cincinnati since 2012 and previously in Princeton, N.J., from 2004-2012. Her early years were spent in White Pigeon, Mich.
She was married to Samuel E. Hutchins, who preceded her in death in 2004. She met her husband at Temple Methodist Church in Chicago where they were married in 1947.
A 1940 graduate of St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, she worked for several years as head nurse on the psychiatric floor of Cook County Hospital in Chicago, spent a year in Washington state working for a Kaiser Permanente Hospital, and then returned to Chicago to work in the medical department of the Campbell Soup Company until 1953. In 1970, she returned to nursing as head nurse on a medical-surgical floor at Mary Thompson Hospital in Chicago until she retired in 1986 at the age of 71.
Mrs. Hutchins was a member of First United Methodist Church in Oak Park, a Cub Scout den mother for her sons, a Girl Scout leader for her daughters and a longtime member of the Lone Tree Area Adult Girl Scout Troop 007. She was active in the Whittier School PTA from 1958-1967.
Her talents included her incredibly creative craft work from sewing Halloween costumes from scratch (medal-worthy Little Miss Bo Peep and Little Red Riding Hood costumes) to ensuring winning Easter hats for the Easter Hat Parade in Miss Humble's third- and fourth-grade classroom at Whittier School (think papier mache Easter rabbit atop close fitting cap and Easter bunny diorama worn on a 3 x 3-foot piece of plywood, affixed to the head).
One year at the Whittier School Pumpkin contest, she helped her children win with a pumpkin turned into Cinderella's carriage, drawn by four white horses.
Growing up on a 160-acre farm in Michigan, she had a diverting childhood. She and her brothers and sisters had a pickle-growing business to earn spending money. They grew and harvested the pickles in their very own little pickle patch and then hauled them by wagon to the pickle factory in town to sell.
For one birthday as a young child, she was given eight fertile turkey eggs. She found a hen willing to sit on the eggs and waited for them to hatch, then delighted in watching as the baby turkeys grew and followed their "mother" all over the farm. Once the turkeys were a little older, imagine the mother hen's consternation when the adolescent turkeys started roosting in a tree at night! Baby chickens are not supposed to do that.
As a young girl, she learned to sew all of her own clothes (crocheting Barbie doll clothes from scratch) and to bake fabulous pies and cakes. Her pie crust was second to none, and her apple, strawberry rhubarb and lemon meringue pies were to die for.
Living in Oak Park, Mrs. Hutchins never discarded her childhood lessons. Her children would watch as she made her own laundry soap with bacon drippings and lye.
An avid, even creative camper, as well, she delighted her children by making jello and leaving it outside during chilly nights in Grand Tetons National Park. The Hutchins camped all over the country with their children in tow, braving the black bears visiting their campsite in Yellowstone National Park, petting wild deer and listening to wolves howl in Algonquin Provincial Park in Quebec.
Alice Hutchins is survived by two daughters, Sandra (Oscar) Moreno and Barbara Addy; her son, Dr. Robert (Deborah) Hutchins; her grandchildren, Joshua Moreno, Stephen and Joanna Hutchins, and Drew and Ryan Addy; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her son, Dr. Kendrick T. Hutchins (1986); her parents; and nine brothers and sisters.
The funeral service was held at Ferrand Funeral Home in White Pigeon, Mich., on March 27, followed by interment at White Pigeon Township Cemetery.