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Published: Saturday, 2/7/2004

Lifelong farmer worked even after eyesight failed

WEST UNITY, Ohio - James Franklin Hutchison, a dairy farmer who continued working long after his eyesight failed, died of respiratory problems Monday in Community Hospitals of Williams County, Montpelier, Ohio. He was 89.

Mr. Hutchison lived his entire life on the West Unity farm that belonged to his family since the early 1900s.

After graduating from West Unity High School in 1933, he started working on the 110-acre farm, where he mainly raised dairy cattle. He later bought the neighboring farm, adding another 140 acres to his land.

In addition to raising dairy cows, Mr. Hutchison grew corn, wheat, soybeans, and hay.

“He just enjoyed working the land,” his son, Jan, said.

Although Mr. Hutchison was declared legally blind in the early 1960s, he continued working on the farm until 1980. For the last 10 years of his farming, he raised beef cattle.

“He could see good enough. It didn t stop him from working. It was just harder for him to do things,” his son said. “He never gave up on anything.”

Mr. Hutchison belonged to the West Franklin United Methodist Church since 1926. He had been a member of the congregation the longest.

He also belonged to the Brady Grange, the local farm bureau, and two genealogy societies. As a member of the Williams County Soil and Water Conservation District, Mr. Hutchison shared techniques for preserving soil quality through proper drainage and tilling.

Mr. Hutchison enjoyed spending time with friends and making people laugh with his quirky one-liners.

“He was friendly to just about everyone he ever met,” his son said. “He thoroughly enjoyed life.”

Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Ina; son, Jan; daughter, Judy Rand; sister, Marjorie Weber; three grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today in the Hollingshead-Beck Funeral Home, West Unity.

The family suggests tributes to West Franklin United Methodist Church.

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