Irvin Hutchison, age 85, Chester newspaper publisher, died Wednesday, July 16, 2008, at the Chester Hospital.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, 2008, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Chester. Burial will follow at the Chester Cemetery. A reception will be held at the church. Memorials may be given to donor’s choice. Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester. Irvin George Hutchison was born March 21, 1923, in Chester. He was the youngest of three children born to John and Blanche (Oakley) Hutchison. Irvin grew up and received his education in Chester, graduating from C.H.S. in 1942. He married Delores E. Romain on June 8, 1943, in Conrad. They lived in Shelby where Irvin worked a contractual newspaper route and hauled mail to and from the post office and railway station. Before long he took a job at the Shelby Promoter, then transferred to the Conrad Independent newspaper office. In 1946, a business opportunity became available in Chester, so Irvin and his partner, Darby O’Brien, purchased the Liberty County Times from Thomas Busey. In 1948, Irvin bought Darby’s interests and became sole-proprietor of the Times. He worked as publisher, editor, newsman, ad salesman, typesetter, linotypesetter, photographer, printer, maintenance man, and other assorted jobs associated with the business. Irvin was proud to be one of the first small town newspapermen to include photos in his publications. His weekly editorial column, called Ad Lib, was a favorite of the local Hi-Line readers. Irvin and Delores raised five children, all of whom assisted in various capacities in this family business. After 40 years of getting the news out on time, the Hutchisons sold the business to Alan and Kathy Johnson in 1985. Within a month the original Times building was destroyed by a fire, and the shop was relocated. The newspaper struggled, so in 1987, Irvin enlisted the help of his son John and came out of retirement to save the business. He eventually resold it to Albert and Jeanne Larson, but Irvin continued to serve as an advisor for several more years. In 1989, Irvin was recruited by then Lieutenant-Governor Allen Kolstad to serve as editor of the Montana Centennial Publication in Helena. In 1993, he was honored by the Montana Newspaper Association as master editor and publisher of the year. The Hutchisons continued to live in Chester during their golden years. They enjoyed spending time with the Milk River Good Sams’ Club and at the local senior center. Irvin had served as the Liberty County representative to the Council on Aging. As a member of the Montana Legacy Legislature he was instrumental in getting a bill passed in 1997, urging Congress to investigate price-fixing of prescription drugs. In 1994, he was recognized as the Area three senior citizen of the year. During his high school days, Irvin enjoyed playing the clarinet. In fact, he formed a dance band called the Toe Ticklers that played at local dances and celebrations. Unfortunately, the clarinet got put on the shelf during those busy years at the Times. He picked it up again in retirement, and he enjoyed playing in the Kitchen Band and with the Chester Music Makers in the years that followed. Irvin was an active community man throughout his life. He was a volunteer fireman and served as the local weather observer for over 40 years. He was a past member of the Chester Commercial Club and a longtime active member of the Chester Rotary Club. In 1967-68 he was elected president of the Montana Press Association. Irvin was a man of strong Christian faith. Baptized and confirmed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, he remained active there his entire life. He served on the church council in many capacities, sang in the church choir and volunteered as Sunday school superintendent for many years. He was a member of the men’s prayer breakfast group and the Gideon’s. He and his family enjoyed spending time at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp. He loved and coordinated Lay-Witness Missions and Lutheran Lay-Renewal conferences. He enjoyed Bible studies and was always eager to do guest ministry/preaching to share the good Word. Irvin was always a social man who enjoyed time in the coffee shop with friends. During times of solitude, he enjoyed his walks around Chester. When he made these walks, he always carried dog biscuits to appease the local canines. During his quiet time at home, he enjoyed watching the daily news every night. The Hutchisons were blessed with 65 years of married life. They just celebrated this special anniversary with all of their children and five of their seven grandchildren. Irvin’s health remained relatively good over the years. In June 2008, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On July 14, he was admitted to the Chester hospital, where he died. He is survived by his wife, Delores of Chester; three sons, Robert of Portland, Greg (Marie) of Simi Valley, Calif., and John of Portland; two daughters, Julie (Gary Kunz) Demaree of Portland, Ore. And Mary (Rick) Stevens of Havre; seven grandchildren, Jennifer, Amanda, Kelsey, Oliver, Carolyn, Rachel, and Julie; two great-granddaughters Alana and Rebecca; one brother, William Hutchison of Big Fork; one sister, Ethel Norman of Seattle; and numerous nephews and nieces. Irvin was preceded in death by his parents.