Leonard E. "Speed" Hutson, 93, a life-long resident of the Hood River Valley, died Monday, April 2, 2012, at the Hood River Care Center. He was born May 22, 1918, in Hood River to John and Lillian Hutson and attended local schools, graduating from the eighth grade. He said they passed him due to the fact that he "caused so much hell they passed me just to get rid of me!"
In a story in the July 19, 2008, edition of the Hood River News, RaeLynn Ricarte wrote that "he chuckled about the origin of his nickname: "My father was driving a Studebaker down the road and saw some motorcycles coming up from behind the car. I yelled 'speed-cops!' and he slowed down for a ways before figuring out it wasn't a cop behind us. He then pulled over and gave me a good paddling. I've been known as Speed ever since."
He joined the Army in April 1942, serving as a medic in hospitals in the United States and the European-African-Middle Eastern theater. He was also stationed in England for a year.
He married Viola Schneider McGarvin on Dec. 14, 1961, in White Salmon, Wash. He drove a school bus and worked for the Hood River Sand & Gravel company, retiring in 1981. He also owned an orchard with his cousin. He was a former member of the Hood River Elks and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
He is survived by his wife, Viola; stepchildren Eldon (Joan), Jerry (Jane) McGarvin and Selma Goetz; six grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; nine great-great-grandchildren; a brother and sister-in-law; cousins, nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Lillian; stepmother Luella; sisters Clothilda, Esther (Alfred) Balsiger, Idella and Ruby; and brothers Harold and Dr. Elwood Hutson.
Speed will be remembered for his strong opinions and getting directly to the point in a conversation. He enjoyed giving his opinion about current events, especially the missteps taken by government officials. He did not get offended when other people aired an opposing viewpoint.
In September 1991, his photo was in the Hood River News standing on a picking ladder while measuring stalks of corn 11 feet tall.
Viewing will take place on Friday, April 6, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. with a reception and continued sharing from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a funeral service at 1:15 p.m., all at Anderson's Tribute Center in Hood River. (This is a correction from earlier information stating that a graveside service will be held at Idlewilde Cemetery at 1 p.m.)
Condolences are being received online.
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