Ralph H. Hutchins, Jr., age 92, longtime former resident of Wellesley Hills, MA, Wolfeboro, NH, and Belmont, MA until relocating permanently to Fort Lauderdale, FL., passed away peacefully at home with his wife, Janet by his side after suffering his last seizure on Thursday, January 6, 2022. He endured 26 years of having 24 strokes and seizures. The last 4 years of his life, he was confined to bed due to losing strength in his legs. He was 1 month shy of having reached his 93rd birthday.
Born in Watertown, MA on February 9, 1929, to the late Ralph H. Hutchins, Sr., and Florence (Stillings) Hutchins, he was a 1947 graduate of Watertown High School. Photography was his passion which he first learned in high school and was part of the high school photography club.
He served in the Army during the Korean War. Following his return from the Army, he studied photography in NYC at the New York Institute of Photography. He was a member of the Professional Photographers of America, Inc. in conjunction with the Professional Photographers of Massachusetts as a Certified Professional Photographer. While there, he learned to oil paint which he later resumed during his retirement.
He established Hutchins Photography Inc. first in Belmont, MA and then relocated to Watertown in 1986 after purchasing the old H&K Tire Manufacturing Company at 309 Main Street which he remodeled into a commercial photography studio now known as the Hutchins Building where he specialized in commercial, architectural and portrait photography until his retirement. Throughout his professional photography career, he travelled internationally and all over the country to photograph many buildings for architects, contractors, developers, and realtors. One of his most notable photographs was of a group of people taken in the 1960’s who were the Founders of the Internet and appears on the cover of Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet.
In 1972 he and his wife established Hutchins Corporation, a real estate property investment company. When he moved to Florida, the business name was changed and relocated to Fort Lauderdale.
He was a proud 67-year Mason belonging to Pequossette Lodge in Watertown now meeting in Arlington, MA. He was Worshipful Master in 1968 and is a Past Master of the 34th Lodge of Instruction and 3rd Lodge of Instruction and served as District Deputy Grand Secretary. He was currently the most senior Past Master of the Lodge. Both he and his father, Ralph Sr. were instrumental in the building of the Masonic Hall in Watertown.
He was a 47-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star in Massachusetts. He first belonged to Wellesley Chapter #166 serving in the East beside his wife as Worthy Patron in 1977-1978 and then Pequosette Chapter #141, Watertown where he served as Worthy Patron with his wife in 1992-1993 and then 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 with his daughter. When Pequosette closed, he became a member of Wistaria Chapter #138, Needham now meeting in Westwood. He served for many years as the Official Session Photographer for the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts until handing the responsibility over to his daughter to photograph.
When his son was growing up, he was very active with the Boy Rangers and then the Boy Scouts of America, serving as assistant troop leader and seeing his son reach Eagle Scout. While active with the Boy Scouts, he co-led several 100-mile Canadian wilderness canoe trips with his son as well as one trip with his daughter and the 2 other leaders’ daughters.
He was active with Wellesley Assembly #69, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls with his wife and daughter where he served on the Advisory Board and as their Dad Advisor.
He had a love of architecture and as such designed with his wife and built weekends a family summer house on an island in Lake Winnipesaukee, NH that he and his family enjoyed summering at for over 50 years. Recently the house was featured on HGTV, and the comment was they would change next to nothing.
Self-taught, he loved to do masonry stonework and throughout his life he built many stone walls at both his residence in Wellesley Hills, MA including a rock pond with waterfall as well as the lake house where he built a living room fieldstone fireplace, numerous stone walls and a shoreline retaining wall at the water’s edge.
He was an avid reader and Patriots fan, enjoyed duck hunting with his son, alpine skiing with the family, fishing, boating, oil painting which he resumed when retired, and travelling with his wife and family. Significant family trips included travelling to Spain, and a 6-week cross country trip to visit National Parks in the US and Canada and with his wife to many European countries and several cruises.
He is survived by his beloved wife Janet (Chandler) Hutchins whom he was married to for 63 years; a son Donald of Fort Lauderdale, FL; a daughter Diane Hutchins-Fridmann (Michel Fridmann) of Belmont, MA; 4 grand-daughters, Andrea-lee Donovan-Hutchins, Jessica Painz, Lindsey and Erica Fridmann; 3 great grandchildren; his sister Joanne (Hutchins) Balzarini of Bernardston, MA and her 3 children; a brother-in-law and sister-law Robert and Caroline Chandler of Medina, OH and their 2 children; and many other grand nieces and nephews, and his caregiver Georgeann Lazarus of over 12 years.
Visiting hours will be held Monday, May 16, 2022, 4pm-8pm at MacDonald Rockwell & MacDonald Funeral Home, 270 Main Street, Watertown, MA. At 7pm, a Masonic Funeral Service followed by an Eastern Star Funeral Service will be held. A Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 1pm at the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church, 421 Common Street, Belmont, MA. Street parking recommended. The memorial service will be available via Zoom for those unable to attend in person. Link to the live-stream is below.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ralph’s memory to Pequossette Lodge, c/o Arthur D’Amico, Secretary, 18 Putney Circle, Billerica, MA 01821 or Nobscot Boy Scout Reservation in Sudbury, c/o Mayflower Council, BSA, 83 Cedar Street, Milford, MA 01757.
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