Louise R. Hutchinson, 88, of Geneseo, died Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, at Hammond-Henry Hospital, Geneseo. A funeral service celebrating her life was held Saturday, Dec. 7 at First Congregational Church, Geneseo. Burial was in Oakwood Cemetery. A visitation was held Friday, Dec. 6 at Vandemore Funeral Homes Ltd., Geneseo. Memorials may be directed to the Lou Hutchinson Memorial Fund.
Lou was born on Feb. 7, 1925, the daughter of Rollo and Florence Riddle. Her parents operated a truck farm on the edge of Mattoon. Lou helped to churn butter from their milking Shorthorns and sell vegetables from the farm. At the end of many days, she would give food to those who could not pay for it. Lou and her brothers, Lawrence and Hamilton, both deceased, worked hard to support their mother following their father’s early death.
During her teenage years, she was a lifeguard at the Mattoon public pool where she saved several lives. She graduated from Mattoon High School in 1943. She then went to the University of Illinois where she studied English, biology and music. She was a member of Chi Omega sorority and sang solos at the University of Illinois auditorium. Following graduation, she taught English and biology at Oakwood Township High School in Oakwood.
Lou married Jim Hutchinson in 1950, and moved to Geneseo. He died in 2008. She became an active member of First Congregational Church and served in the choir and on various committees. Lou accepted Christ as her Savior.
Lou taught CPR and other essential life skills as a Cub Scout leader. She was the president of the Richmond Hill Players and acted in plays at the theater. In one presentation, she played the role of a nun. Lou served on the Geneseo Park Board and was a 50-year member of the Geneseo Music Club. She served as president of the Henry County Republican Women and later as vice president of the Illinois Republican Women.
As a grandmother, she actively cared for her grandchildren, Zachary, Grant, Brianna and Drew. During the past few years, Lou suffered from Alzheimer’s. During that time, Linda Hutchinson and these same grandchildren actively helped to care for her. She also was helped by many other truly dedicated care givers.
Lou was the mother of Robert (Linda) Hutchinson of Geneseo and Dave (Mary) Hutchinson of New Berlin, Wis.; grandchildren include; Robb’s children, Zachary, Grant, Brianna (Alex Henry) and Drew, as well as Dave’s children, Michael (Nicole) of Bloomington, Minn., and Megan (Andy) Potasek of Nashota, Wis. She has a great grandson, Alexander Henry. She also was a step-grandmother to Matt Ottis and Branden Kostner. She loved children, animals and music, and was dearly loved by her family and friends. She will be missed.