1922 – 2014

WEST PARIS — Virginia Carlene Smith Hutchins died on Thursday, March 27, at Ledgeview Living Center, where she resided since October 2012.

Ginny was born in Bethel on Jan. 9, 1922, to Homer and Lillian Bean Smith. She attended Bethel schools, graduating from Gould Academy in 1939. After graduation, she was employed by a local dentist, Dr. Brown, as an assistant. She spoke fondly of the job and Dr. Brown; that’s why the whole family never, ever missed a six-month cleaning.

She married Lee Hutchins on Feb. 1, 1946, upon his return from military service in World War II. They raised four children in their hometown of Bethel, where they lived for 90 years, until it became necessary for them to move to a nursing home. They enjoyed 67 years of marriage, until Lee’s passing on April 28, 2013. Their ashes will be buried together in the same Bonnema Potters handcrafted urn later this spring.

Ginny was a stay-at-home mom until her children became school age. Once all of them were in school, she worked in food services for Bethel elementary schools for 15 years. She then took a position as a tutor within the school system for children having difficulty with math and reading.

Ginny was a talented seamstress, a great cook, a pro at running a household, an avid sports fan and a crossword puzzle enthusiast. She sewed most of her clothes as well as her daughters’ when they were young. She made beautiful, frilly dresses for her granddaughters, which were passed down to be reloved. Ginny made beautiful quilts. Every member of her family — children and all grandchildren — own at least one of these special treasures. She also knitted many sweaters, mittens, socks, scarves, hats and booties for the entire family and others. She could repair any piece of clothing no matter what ailed it. She even darned the family’s socks.

Being quite frugal people, everything was always neatly and ingeniously repaired. Everything. During the summer, she spent endless hours canning and freezing vegetables from the four vegetable gardens they tended. The larder was stocked until the next summer in their very efficient root cellar and in their freezers. Never was a store-bought vegetable served. There was even enough to send home with the children and grandchildren. She always had a homemade dessert available, often fresh from the oven, upon returning from school. She made a perfect pie crust with ease every time. She even found clever ways to cook venison. Ginny doted on her grandchildren, serving them meals in the living room and constantly checking on them for second servings. And that homemade dessert was always there. She was also a good shot, hunting game birds in the fall and woodchucks in the yard. She swiftly and efficiently kept them out of the gardens.

She served as den mother for her sons’ Cub Scout troop and taught Sunday school at West Parish Congregational Church. She was also a member of the Bethel Historical Society and S.A.M.

She is survived by her son, Michael Hutchins and wife, Janis Kennagh Hutchins, of South Paris; her son, Mark Hutchins of Salisbury, N.H.; her daughter, Kelly Hutchins Thibodeau and husband, Michael, and son, Landon, of Freeport; son-in-law, Al Stimpson, of Durham; and her grandchildren: Jennifer Hutchins Currier and husband, David Jr., and children, Kaleb, Colby and Carter, of Oxford; Thomas Hutchins of Auburn; Andrea Hutchins Sickinger and husband, Jonathan, and children, Dylan and Taylor, of South Hadley, Mass.; Karen Hutchins Bieluch and husband, Jesse, of Milford; Tim Lea of Greensborough, N.C.; Robin Lea and husband, Jonathan Merrifield, of Portland; Molly Lea and significant other, Jud McIntosh, of Peaks Island; and Kate Lea Luckett and husband, Matt, of Greenville, S.C. She is also survived by her sister, Elizabeth Smith Mills, of Rumford; and brother, Homer Smith Jr., of Bethel.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband; her daughter, Jill Hutchins; her brother, Charles Smith; her brother, Gardiner Smith; her daughter-in-law, Pam Douglass Hutchins; and her son-in-law, John Gilbert “Biff” Lea.

Online condolences may be shared with her family at www.chandlerfunerals.com.

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