Irwin Frederick (RED) Hutchins was born on November 27, 1915 of Cloyd Elmer and Bertha (Rowe) Hutchins in
Irwin graduated with the class of 1934. He was a grinding machine operator for Blood Brothers in Allegan for over a year before he entered the Army on June 6, 1942. He trained at Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Knox, Kentucky. His work at Blood Brothers on universal joints got his the job as truck driver which was what the training was for in Kentucky.
His unit was the 78th Field Artillery Regiment, 13th Calvary. He became Private First Class, sailed to Casablanca, drove across North Africa experiencing some hairy driving, jumped to Sicily and boarded a ship again. This brought him across the Mediterranean, then far out into the Atlantic to avoid German submarines, sailing North of Ireland and making port in Liverpool,
England. In some spare time here he traveled to eastern England to the city of Whitby and visited old Abbeys that were constructed 100's of years ago.
On D-day plus 3, he sailed across the channel from Fareham, where his unit with the 2nd division "Hell on Wheels" landed near Carentan, France. His unit faught across France and Belgium and stopped a few weeks at the German border. This allowed him to drive a bunch of nurses to Paris for a weekend pass.
In the spring the battle continued, on into Germany. On April 5, 1945 his unit lost phone contact with the main command where he drove through enemy line with telephone wire to regain contact. For this he received the "SILVER STAR".
On returning to the United States, Irwin was transferred to Battery "A" of the 47th Armored field Artillery Battalion. He was honorably discharged at Camp Atterbury Indiana, October 15, 1945. He rode a bus which left him off at "What Not Inn", 5 miles west of Fennville. Hitching a ride like many service men did in those days, he rode in a truck that let him off by the High School, his old stomping grounds. While walking up the hill he met up with his nephew Jim where Jim thought this was the first time he remembered seeing him. Red just said hi and kept walking up the hill with his bag on his back.
Red went to work for Consumers Power. His experience with winches while driving around Europe as a truck driver got him the job. A long time friend, Dutch Atkins encouraged Red to make a date with Lois Marie Sheckler Bouwman. Lois was staying with Red's brother, Keith and Bea
Hutchins and working at the Post Office. A few months later he married
her on April 19, 1946. Lois had three children by her
1st marriage where in Irwin became step-father right away. Lois brought
them into their new home gradually, first LaVerne and Arleen, and
finally Jean. The photo below was taken in 1943 in Allegan.
the war, Lois was working in Grand Rapids making parachutes and
airplane wings. LaVerne and Arleen was living with their grand parents,
Linn and Ethel Sheckler on the south side of Hutchins Lake. Jean was
living with Ethel's sister north of Bloomingdale.
Red and Lois lived 1st in the big house on the SW corner of 1st and Maple St. in Fennville. Then in a less expensive rental two doors west on Consumers on Walter St. In 1950 they moved to their third house, their first investment in buying. It was right behind the high scholl, three doors down the hill from his parents. The kids got to experience getting to school just as the last bell was ringing, just like Red did 20 some years earlier. One bad thing about this house, which never changed, there was only a stool and sink in a tight spot under the stairs, no bath tub or shower. It was not too convenient.
Living on the hill was a fun place to live in the winter. It was a gfreat place for sledding. One winter the water tower run over and covered the hill and houses with ice. LaVerne graduated in 1953 and
joined the Navy. Jean graduated in 1954 and went to nursing school in Kalamazoo. Arleen graduated in 1956 and became a secretary at Holland Furnace Co. As Jean graduated, Red and Lois purchased a nice house on the NE side of the lake.
LaVerne became and Telecommunications Engineer and married Letha M. Billau, they traveled all over the states. Jean married Keith Hasty and stayed in the area. Arleen married John Preston and moved to Plant city, Florida. In the 70's Red and Lois began to travel, some to see LaVerne or Arleen and some to Colorado Springs to see his sister Dorothy and a favorite area, the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Irwin was a good member of the Masons. He and Lois both were members of the Eastern Star. They loved bowling at Douglas Lanes. Their big love in the declining years was ball room dancing in Grand Rapids. Their last home was a mobile home in Dogwood Manor, where Irwin passed away at the age of 79 on October 26, 1995. Lois moved in with her daughters in Holland who had also lost their husbands. She passed away on Janruary 5, 2007 at the age of 91.
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