Recently I wrote a bio for my paternal grandfather for our family Bible. To enliven the piece, I struggled to remember anecdotes that would illustrate his life. This recall proved challenging, and I wish I had asked a lot more questions about his growing up. My plea to others is don’t forget to ask. You’ll likely be sorry later if you do not.
Below is the brief bio of my grandfather, John Francis Hutton (Frank). Family and those who knew this kind gentleman may find it interesting.
John Francis Hutton
(By John Thomas Hutton, grandson)
John Francis (Frank) Hutton was born in Garden City, Missouri on April 11, 1888 to Thaddeus (Thad) Septimus Hutton and Elizabeth (Betty) Jane Ragan Hutton. Frank was the only child born to Thad and Betty who was not born in Texas. He had three brothers; Thaddeus Leslie, George Earl, and John Francis who died in infancy and two sisters; Emma Jane and Margaret Mary. In October 1904 the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri where Frank attended Central High School, Central Business College, and the American Savings and Loan Institute.
Frank married Kate Frances Lincoln on October 1, 1913. Years later Frank shared a story about his courting of Kate. Frank’s home in Kansas City lay about 20 miles from Kate’s home in Liberty, Missouri. In order to visit her, Frank would borrow the family horse and buckboard and head for the Lincoln’s farm. At the end of the day, Frank would climb back into the buckboard, point his horse in the direction of Kansas City, loosely tie the reins, and then crawl into the back of the buckboard. There to the metronomic clip clop of his horse’s hooves, Frank would fall fast asleep. After all he had to work the following day and needed rest in order to be productive. When the horse would eventually stop, Frank realized that he had arrived home. He would then climb out of the buckboard, unharness the horse, and head off to bed. Frank’s practical approach to his late night transportation needs demonstrated an early example of a driverless vehicle, a smart horse, and a resourceful suitor.
For a time after getting married, Frank worked as an accountant for a salt company in Salina, Kansas. For the last thirty years of his work career, Frank worked at Metropolitan Savings and Loan in Kansas City, Missouri, working his way up the ranks until becoming Vice President.
Frank and Kate had one child, John Howard Hutton, born in Liberty, Missouri April 11, 1921. Frank eventually purchased two acres of land and a red brick two-story home at 909 Vivion Road in Kansas City, Kansas where he and Kate enjoyed a semi-rural lifestyle. For many years the Frank Hutton family planted and tended a large vegetable garden that provided abundant harvests.
The yard on Vivion Road was large and required Frank to own two lawnmowers; one a large machine he called Big John and a smaller one that he named Little Boy. Frank used Big John for the broad swathes and Little Boy for the tighter areas. Frank regularly pruned the shrubbery, fertilized the yard, and mowed at regular intervals. Frank’s yard reflected his own personality with its simplicity, understatement, and tidiness.
One of Frank’s lessons for his grandchildren dealt with neighborliness. He described how one good neighbor would extend his fertilizing for a short distance across his property line and into his neighbor’s yard. Likewise the next-door neighbor would extend his fertilizing efforts across the boundary into the first neighbor’s yard. This extension inevitably led to a deeply green and luxuriant strip of grass midway between the two yards. This practice, Frank suggested, embodied good neighborly relations.
Frank for years enjoyed a regular Saturday golf outing with his friends and continued to play until he was well into his eighties. While a slight man at about five feet six inches and 130-140 pounds, his drives down the fairways were short but remarkably on target. His iron play and putting remained as deadly as ever.
Frank knowing the wonderful life lessons that golf taught wanted to pass the golf legacy to his three grandsons. Despite his patient instruction his attempts were not universally accepted. With the exception of David, none initially took up the game. Frank’s grandsons were larger, stronger, and more physically fit than their slightly built and aging grandfather, yet their grandfather was so far superior to their own unrefined efforts that each grandson questioned whether golf was destined to be his game.
Frank’s Christian faith played a guiding role in his life. For many decades Frank served as a dedicated Sunday school teacher with regular attendance at the Ivanhoe Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri.
Several of Frank’s personality characteristics spring to mind. He demonstrated great affability. He possessed a kindness and interest in people that served him well throughout his life and gained him many close friends. Frank may have acquired his affability from his father who possessed this attribute as did Frank’s son, Howard. Frank also possessed a wonderful sense of humor and told grand stories. He was soft spoken and mild mannered except when attending the Kansas City Athletics baseball games at Metropolitan Stadium where he rooted loudly for the home team. Frank often took friends and family to sit in the Metropolitan S & L box that was located along the first base line. Frank always treated his family and friends generously with treats and soft drinks.
A second personality characteristic of Frank was his loyalty. He was for decades a devoted employee at Metropolitan Savings and Loan. He showed loyalty to his family as well. When his son, John Howard Hutton, transferred from Kansas City to Dallas to fly for Braniff Airlines, shortly after Frank’s retirement Frank and Kate followed and bought a home only several blocks away from Howard Hutton’s home in Richardson. Frank and Kate said they wished to watch their grandchildren grow up. In Richardson (a northern suburb of Dallas) he attended innumerable youth ball games, church events, school plays, sporting events, graduations, and city happenings. Frank was a doting and loving grandfather. Frank remained loyal to the Christian Church in Richardson where he and Kate regularly attended and where he again taught Sunday school. He also founded a Senior Citizens group that for many years served the community.
A third characteristic of Frank Hutton was his calm demeanor. Undoubtedly, he likely must have displayed excessive emotionality at some point, but this observer never once saw him lose his temper or become upset. He served as an emotional anchor for his family and calmly surfed the upsets of life that would often distress others.
Frank Hutton enjoyed good health until very near the end of his life. He died on September 14, 1975 following a fall on his driveway that gave rise to intracranial bleeding. He was 86 years old. Of Frank Hutton it can be said, he was truly a gentle person who was widely respected and loved by all who knew him.