Howard Harold Hutchins

Howard Harold Hutchins

Howard H. Hutchins, 91, of Fox Island, Wash., passed away on July 21, 2008, at home. He died of congestive heart failure. Howard was born Jan. 17,1917, in Wibaux, Mont., the fourth of six children born to William and Pearl Hutchins, and the tenth generation of Hutchins born in America. His family moved to Centralia, Wash., in 1933 from Omak, Wash.

Howard graduated from Centralia High School in 1936. Soon after, he went to work as a journeyman body and fender man, in business with his father and brothers. During World War II, 1942 - 1945, he served as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad. In December 1946, he opened his first business, a gas station and reapair shop on old Hwy 99, North Chehalis, Wash. In July 1947, following a devastating fire, Howard purchased land and opened a used car lot at the corner of Summa and Gold Streets in Centralia. He later obtained the new car franchises for American Motors and GMC. He retired from his 40-year career as an automobile dealer. He continued to manage his real estate holdings and enjoyed many years of travel throughout the country with his wife, Lelia.

During his business years, Howard was active in and served as president of the Centralia Rotary Club, president of the Lewis County Auto Dealers Association, president of the Lincoln Grade School PTA, building fund treasurer of the First Christian Church for 14 years, and multiple terms as Trustee on the Washington Alcohol Problems Association Board. In 1977, he and Lelia became members of the First Presbyterian Church in Centralia.

Howard's hobbies were carpentry, golf, hunting and fishing. His avocation was rebuilding a destroyed 1967 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, which allowed him years of pure pleasure chauffeuring friends' kids for special occasions. He loved a good joke, had a quick wit and loved teasing his grandkids to bring a smile to their faces. He was affectionately referred to by the grandkids as Howard "Hubcap" "Handsome" Hutchins.

Howard married Lelia M. Thompson on Jan. 11, 1939, and they celebrated their 57th anniversary before her death, Feb. 12, 1996. He is survived by their sons Bob and Marilyn Hutchins, Medford, Ore., and Denny and Theresa Hutchins, Fox Island, Wash.; eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren; and his sisters, Bernice, Yvonne, Sylvia and Shirley. Howard was preceded in death by his parents and four brothers.

A memorial service will be held at Newell Hoerling Mortuary, Centralia, at 11 a.m., July 26. A private family graveside service will be held at Mountain View Cemetery in Centralia on Saturday, July 26. Both services will be led by Dr. John Haberlin, retired Presbyterian pastor.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Northwest Christian University Howard H. Hutchins Scholarship Memorial Fund (for degree completion/non-traditional students in business/business management). Contributions can be mailed to NCU, Office of Development, 828 E. 11th Ave., Eugene, OR, 97401-3745.

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