Dr. Robert L. Hutchinson, who practiced optometry in Bowling Green for 37 years, died Friday in Hospice of Arizona in Phoenix.
He was 86 and suffered from congestive heart failure, his daughter, Patricia, said. But she was unsure as to his exact cause of death. Dr. Hutchinson and his wife, Mary, had moved in 2000 from their longtime home in Perrysburg Township to Phoenix to be near their daughter.
Dr. Hutchinson operated his practice with the philosophy of keeping prices low and maintaining a large patient list. Patients responded by sticking with him.
"People moved out of state and still came back," his daughter said.
In 1979 a patient who had won beauty pageants credited him with changing her life. She sent him a letter thanking him for his extra work in finding contact lenses that her eyes would tolerate.
Another patient credited him with saving her life in a story she told a local newspaper reporter. Dr. Hutchinson had advised her to immediately see a specialist who later diagnosed a brain tumor.
Dr. Hutchinson was born in Norwalk and grew up in Defiance. He was the middle child of three children born to Clayton Hutchinson, who operated a Singer sewing machine store, and his wife, Mary.
He graduated from Defiance High School, where he played trombone in the band, and was employed in a pharmacy for a year before attending Defiance College. From there he went to Ohio State University and studied optometry, largely at his father's suggestion, his daughter said. His father apparently knew his son well. "It turned out to be a good career for him," she said.
While at Ohio State, Dr. Hutchinson assisted his brother, Reeder, in magic shows around Columbus while Reeder was attending law school.
During World War II, Dr. Hutchinson interrupted his schooling to serve four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he was a pharmacist's mate, assisting the ship's doctor on an LST that carried troops and tanks ashore in the Pacific.
Dr. Hutchinson enjoyed fishing and boating on Lake Erie and traveling throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe with his wife, the former Mary Kistler. He read newspapers and news magazines thoroughly and enjoyed history, especially the Civil War. He had two ancestors who fought on the Union side. He was also interested in genealogy and went to county courthouses gathering information. He had belonged to the Bowling Green Exchange Club.
Surviving are his wife, Mary; daughter, Patricia; and sister, Nancy Greiwe.
Services will be private. The family requests tributes to Hospice of Arizona.