Robert Elwyn Hutchinson, Sr., 89, of Rockingham, passed away Monday, April 8, 2019, at Richmond County
Hospice Haven after a long and useful life. He was born in Richmond County January 16, 1930, to the late A. E. Hutchinson and Mary Rebecca Knox Hutchinson.
Robert was active in Rockingham’s First United Methodist Church, where he served as a teacher of the Ledbetter Men’s Bible Class for many years. He also served on the Finance Committee, Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Administrative Board, and Board of Trustees.
Robert graduated from Rockingham High School in 1948, and UNC Chapel Hill in December, 1951. He completed Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1952, and entered active service in the United States Navy. He served on the USS Yellowstone, stationed in Rhode Island. After completing active duty, Robert and his wife, the former Mary Joanna Phillips, moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Robert remained in the Naval Reserves until 1967, where he commanded the Charlotte Naval Reserve Unit.
In 1962, the family returned to Rockingham, where Robert assumed the position of Vice President of Woods Five and Dime Stores. He later served as President of the organization.
At the age of 48, Robert began a second career as a financial advisor with Wheat First Securities. He remained with Wheat and its successor companies for thirty years and took great pleasure in helping his clients, who always became his close friends. Robert was frequently named to his firm’s Senior Leadership Council in recognition of his dedication to professionalism and high-quality client care. In connection with his work, he taught finance and investment classes at both Richmond Community College and Chesterfield-Marlboro Technical College. He also wrote a weekly column, “Taking Stock,” for the Richmond County Daily Journal for many years.
Robert was an active member in the community, serving on both business and humanitarian organizations for the benefit of Richmond County citizens. These organizations include the following: Rockingham Rotary Club, 1963-2000, Past President; Rockingham Housing Authority, 1965-1968; Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Merchants Association, 1966-1967, President 1967; Rockingham School Board, 1968; Richmond County Chamber of Commerce 1970-1972 1987-1988; Rockingham City Council, 1975-1983, Mayor Pro Tem 1979-1983; Rockingham Chamber of Commerce; 1980 Richmond Community College Foundation President, 1986-1988; Richmond County Public Library System, 1992-1998; Richmond Community College Foundation Citizen of the Year, 1998; Richmond Memorial Hospital Trustees, 1965-1985, 1992-2002; Chairman 1996-2002.
In more recent years, Robert served as a member of both the Community Foundation of Richmond County and the Leath Foundation. In those roles he, together with other members, supported and funded projects such as Discovery Place Kids, intended to have a positive and permanent impact on Richmond County.
Above all, Robert took great delight in his large family. He also enjoyed traveling, hiking, reading, baseball, photography and coconut cake. The Robert E. and Mary Joanna Phillips Hutchinson Scholarship at Davidson College was created to assist families with more than one child at Davidson College.
Robert leaves behind a loving family. His wife of 66 years, Mary Joanna Phillips Hutchinson, survives him. Also surviving are his son, Rob Hutchinson (Catherine), of Atlanta, and grandsons Nathaniel and Patrick (Robin); son Roy Hutchinson (Julia), of Charleston, South Carolina, and grandchildren Ben and Sara; daughter Anna H. McGinnis (Terry), of Manteo, North Carolina, and grandchildren Matt (Brooke) and Molly; son David Hutchinson (Mary Helen) of Greenville, North Carolina, and grandchildren Knox, Mary Elizabeth and Allen; and son John Hutchinson (Sharon), of Rockingham, and grandchildren John Patrick, Alex and Eve. He is also survived by his brother, Fred Hutchinson (Patricia) of Mount Holly, North Carolina; brother-in-law Robert Phillips (Lucy) of Starkville, Mississippi, and many nieces and nephews.
A service to celebrate Robert's life was conducted 11:00 am Thursday, April 11th at First United Methodist Church in Rockingham. The family had visitation to see friends Wednesday evening at the home on 612 Anson Ave., Rockingham from 6 to 8 pm.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, PO Box 637, Rockingham, NC 28380, Richmond County Hospice, 1119 US Hwy 1 N.,, Rockingham, NC 28379, or First Health Richmond Memorial Hospital Foundation, 925 Long Dr., Rockingham, NC 28379.
Watson - King Funeral Home in Rockingham is assisting the Hutchinson family. Condolences may be sent online by visiting www.watson-kingfuneralhome.com
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