SUN CITY CENTER — Louise Hutt was well into her 80s when she took a college writing class for seniors, which resulted in her traveling from Sun City Center to Salt Lake City to research her genealogy.
With her usual gusto and zest for every project she undertook, Ms. Hutt had published her 319-page autobiography, Life Is for the Living, by the time she turned 90.
For those who knew, loved and respected her, Ms. Hutt's life represented the title of her book many times over. A resident of Sun City Center for 45 years, she routinely played golf, swam almost every day and was still playing bridge when she was 105.
She twice served as regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution Sun City Center Chapter and was president of the Women's Guild and the Altar Guild of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, serving the Episcopal church from the time she was a child until she was 100. She also was president of the local alumni chapter of her college sorority, Tri Sigma, volunteered at Manatee and South Bay hospitals and traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad.
On April 4, Ms. Hutt passed away of natural causes just shy of her 108th birthday. Amazingly, the Aston Gardens resident had never suffered any type of chronic illness and never needed any medication or surgery throughout her long and inspirational life.
Her family credits her mind, body, spirit and good genes for her longevity. Sally Nelson, Ms. Hutt's daughter, says her mother was so positive and never complained about anything and was amazed every year her birthday came around.
"She was so healthy for her age," Nelson said. "It was unreal. Her friends kept getting younger as she kept getting older. She lived life to the fullest and was an incredible example to us all."
Louise Rich Fraser Hutt was born on July 3, 1905, in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. Following her graduation from high school, Ms. Hutt enrolled in the Buffalo Normal School (now Buffalo State College) and earned her elementary education degree. She taught first- and second-grade students in the Buffalo public schools until she married in 1928. Regrettably, under the rules applicable at that time, she was forced to give up her teaching career because there were so few jobs available for single women.
Ms. Hutt married her childhood sweetheart, Lester Ralph Hutt, following his graduation from Syracuse University. They lived for 40 years in Kenmore, N.Y., a suburb north of Buffalo. Lester was the president of Hutts' Dairy in Buffalo and was deeply involved in his community and the dairy industry activities of upstate New York.
He pioneered pasteurized and homogenized milk in the Niagara Frontier and brought Reddi-wip to the area. Together, the Hutts managed to survive the devastating impact of the Great Depression.
When World War II came around, the lives of the Hutts changed. They had bought a dairy store near two factories, Bell Aircraft and Westinghouse, that began producing products for the war effort day and night. At the request of the government, the dairy store kept operating 24 hours a day in order to feed the local workers. Ms. Hutt spent 12 hours a day supervising the store, delegating her home responsibilities to an aunt.
When the war ended and life returned to normal, Ms. Hutt took care of her three children, Peter, Sally and Henry, and became a leader in numerous community organizations, from chairing fundraising drives and volunteering for the local hospital, to assisting the Girls Scouts and staying active in the Episcopal church.
Ms. Hutt moved to Sun City Center in 1966, when it was just beginning to become a retirement community. Her oldest son, Henry Robert, had been living in Florida, and she and her husband, Lester, were attracted to Sun City Center's golf courses, man-made lakes and country clubs and its proximity to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Sadly, her son died in 1967 from a brain tumor at the age of 36. Just seven months later, Lester died of a stroke at age 61, never able to fully enjoy his retirement.
Among Ms. Hutt's many life principles reflected in her autobiography: Always be optimistic, put your difficulties aside, never lose faith in yourself and persevere to the very end.
A celebration of her life was held May 16 in Sun City Center and was attended by family, friends and community members who knew and loved her. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Louise R. Hutt Altar Guild Fund at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 1015 Del Webb Blvd. E, Sun City Center, FL 33573.