Recent History 1999
September 28, 1999
By Mark Nielsen
Daily News Staff
Former Peace River Block News editor and noted Rotarian Charles Hutchison died Monday morning. Relatives say he died of an apparent stroke in the early hours. He was 84.
Born in Rumsey, Alta. on Sept. 26, 1915, Hutchison came to Dawson Creek from Edmonton in January 1940. He was a graduate of Percy Page Business College in Edmonton and the Radio College of Canada, Toronto. He came to work as a radio service man for the late Joe Dill, who had a furniture store as well as radio sales.
During the next few years, Hutchison worked for the Dawson Co-op Union, Rimbey Motors, and as a partsman for the American Army when they operated a parts depot between Dawson Creek and Pouce Coupe during the construction of the Alaska Highway.
In 1942, Hutchison married Edna Kitchen, whose father, Charles, founded the Peace River Block News. They were married on Sept. 5, 1942 in St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Dawson Creek.
In 1945, he joined the Block News staff and by May 1946 he was the editor, a position he held until March 1957. He remained with the company until it was sold in 1972.
Hutchison was a Rotarian for more than 35 years, first joining in 1954, and served on many of the club’s committees. He was the bulletin editor for several years during which time the club was awarded, in 1976, the Mel Cunningham Shield for the best club bulletin in district 5360.
Hutchison also served as chairman of the board of management for Rotary Manor for six years, and wrote a history of the club.
Hutchison was also a charter member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and served as a secretary for one year. He was a member of the senior Chamber of Commerce for 15 years and during that time took on many posts. He was the chairman of the Chamber’s citizen of the year committee, was a member of the executive for eight years and was the first vice-president in 1961.
He was also chairman of the Devonian Institute’s downtown beautification program and was a member of the NAR Park committee.
Hutchison was named Rotarian of the Year for 1979-80 and the club presented him with a Paul Harris Fellow in 1986.
In October 1993, the contributions of Hutchison and fellow Rotarian Jim McPhail were acknowledged when the Rotary Peace River Health Centre was renamed the McPhail-Hutchison Building.
It was also that same winter that Hutchison celebrated 50 years of marriage to Edna. Edna now lives in the Pouce Coupe Care Home.