Obituary of Christopher Dale Hutchinson
Christopher Dale Hutchinson transitioned peacefully and with dignity on Wednesday, January 10th at 5:00 a.m. at London (Ontario) University Hospital. Born in Leeds, United Kingdom, in 1938, Chris emigrated to Canada in 1956 just prior to his 18th birthday. He never lost his English accent and still dropped his “h’s” (an attendant registered him once as a patient living on “Urine” Street rather than on Huron). He crossed the Atlantic on the Empress of Scotland alone, his dad Harold seeing him off at Liverpool while his mother Mary stayed at home with his siblings John, Susan, Jean, and David. He was met at Union Station in Toronto by his pregnant cousin Mary Gray and her husband George. The Grays’ children (George passed before Gwen was born) would shout excitedly to see their cousin Christopher walking down the street in his big boots and army uniform.
Chris (known as Kit and Cousin Chris to many) was a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces (1960 - 63) and an avid member of the Canadian Legion always keeping his dues up-to-date. Chris trained as a nursing assistant in the 1960s and worked at the Goderich Psychiatric Hospital (later the Goderich Bluewater Centre) from 1964 and from 1976 – 93 at the London Psychiatric Hospital. He excelled at listening and therefore at counselling and coordinated rehabilitation while working in geriatrics and on the intake ward for the Kitchener-Waterloo region. He enjoyed everything about his work, whether he was transporting persons to Penetanguishene on a Governor-General’s warrant or pet therapy for his patients with a docile dog and cat from the local Humane Society. Chris not only loved animals, he nurtured and cared for his plants, including his hibiscus that is now almost a tree. He also had numerous stories of escorting patients on a day-pass to places like the Western Fair to ensure their return, and amazingly he was often recognized years later.
A jack-of-all-trades, Chris enjoyed carpentry and all hands-on work. He loved learning, art, photography, listening to silly jokes, classical and country music, smoking his pipe, and writing, especially poetry (he kept countless notebooks and filled many pads of paper with his thoughts about life). He had hidden talents, an ear for music (he could mimic the correct note on a pitch pipe), and would have made a killing had he taken up massage or acupressure therapy.
Chris played the lottery faithfully each week mainly from the local Better Variety and more so especially after he hit the “big one” of $25,000! A closely kept secret, he spent every penny having fun on his own terms, which included playing much-loved golf games with his friends and buying more tickets. He read voraciously all kinds of books and magazines (until his eyesight failed him), listened to audio tapes, watched documentaries and true crime, and listened to the radio because he was interested in everything. Thus, he also took many courses including three first-year full subjects from Western (Business, Sociology, and Psychology) and passed all of them. He also trained as an electro-cardiography technician taking a three-year program in the late 1970s.
Because of his varied interests, Chris studied mechanics, worked as a young man in a garage, drove huge chicken and milk trucks in Perth and Huron counties, worked as a store keeper and also in a chicken hatchery in England (and thereafter never ate runny eggs again). He broke his wrist on a crank tractor at his Aunt Annie’s farm near Auburn, Ontario (she fainted when she saw his hand dangling), lost all of his upper teeth in a freak accident, and was almost attacked by a black bear in Northern Ontario (he ran with his pants down and climbed onto the roof of his pick-up truck in the woods after he felt a cold nose touch his naked behind). A great story-teller, he told us that it wasn’t just one bear, but many milling about in the dark as seen from his headlights!
Chris knew and cared for his neighbours at 1203 Huron Street where he lived for 37 years. After an accident in January 2023 that left him with multiple fractures (he may have been struck by a car while walking across a parking lot in the dark), he enjoyed his rehabilitation at St. Elizabeth’s and in the past year liked his new place at Kensington Village as hard as it was leaving his old apartment and friends behind. Fiercely independent, Chris was a fixture at Jimmy’s Corner and many local Huron Heights hangouts. His absence leaves a space that cannot be filled at his favourite spots like Chuck’s Roadhouse, D’s Bar and Grill, the Roxbury, and Scores Sports Grill. When he could see, he loved to play billiards and darts and especially enjoyed competing with cronies during tournaments. He won when his team won, and he collected several prizes over the years including small trophies, shirts, and mugs.
A collector of coins, stamps, books, and almost everything (Chris insisted that a large rock he found was a meteorite), he also devoted his time to the study of human nature. Chris was particularly interested in reading obituaries—and had a large collection of clippings of friends and acquaintances. He had many books on psychology, self-improvement, and mystical subjects like reincarnation, psychic phenomena, and the laws and principles of nature.
A sweet and gentle soul, Chris is deeply loved by his family and many cousins in Canada and relatives in England (forgive us for not listing all of you). Papa Chris is profoundly missed by his daughter Zara (of whom he was especially proud), her partner Adam, and Chris’s amazing grandson Caelan as well as by Ingrid and Dr. Bryan Young of Owen Sound and Karen Boehm (former sister-in-law). He was also loved by Lawrence (cousin and great friend d. 1996) and Mary Nesbit, Martha, Michael, Stephen, and Larry Christopher (deceased from cancer at age 50) as well as by the Grays including Susan, Jan, Fred (the baby in gestation in 1956 now almost 68), Ruthie, and Gwen.
Chris loved his visits to Grey County and called Ingrid and Bryan’s backyard on the Sydenham: “a little piece of heaven.” He could sit for hours on the patio watching the many birds while smoking his pipe. He was even an adept kayak paddler!
He loved food but ate frugally and gained weight from his platelet medication and edema caused by heart failure. Although he complained of hospital food, he made the best of it despite missing homemade apple pie with cheddar, Eagle-Brand condensed milk (right out of the can), cream of mushroom soup, British clotted cream, blackcurrant jam, Melton Mowbray meat pies, unsweetened apple sauce on oatmeal, lamb with mint sauce, and of course red wine and beer.
During his decline over his last three months at University Hospital, he felt he had lost so much—not just his possessions, his sight, and his old place, but mainly his social life, though he was ever gracious and never lost his sense of humour. We wish to thank Beverly Reed whose kindness made his first month much more tolerable, also the many doctors, nurses, and PSWs who participated with great compassion in his care, including the chaplain who heard Christopher’s life-story, and especially Colleen who allowed Ingrid to speak with Chris in his final half hour. We are also deeply grateful for those friends who took the time to visit Chris in hospital despite some of the barriers including persistent ward lockdowns: Jacqueline, Lynn, Dori, Lester and Elaine; also, Gary and Peter at Victoria Hospital. Chris had complex medical issues—an autoimmune bleeding disorder (low platelets), severe COPD (cardio-pulmonary disease leading to lung and heart failure), and then finally in his last week, his first time contracting Covid (his weakened lungs just couldn’t cope, despite his having had all his vaccines up-to-date—something he insisted on as a person with a scientific inclination). He refused intubation and wished to pass naturally with a calm sense of his approaching transition 72 hours beforehand.
As a mystic and student of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (the Rosicrucian Order) since 1964, Chris served in many capacities with the local group. He was unfailingly courteous, helpful, and deeply philosophical. He loved life and would often say that if he could, he would live to 130, and if he fell asleep in a chair, that he was simply “meditating” or “contemplating the universe.”
An exceptionally humble man, his greatest past-time was talking to people; he was kind to all no matter their station in life—especially those who served him—whether they were bank tellers, wait-staff, institutional cleaners, or cashiers. Christopher’s mystical principles always guided him, and as such, he set a great example for us all. He will be most profoundly missed.
A Rosicrucian Funeral will occur on Sunday, February 4, 2024 at the Masonic Temple in Nilestown (2451 Hamilton Road East Thames Centre, Ontario N0L 1G5) at 2:00 p.m. All are welcome. A celebration of life will take place for extended family and close friends on Sunday, May 26 in Owen Sound, Ontario. Please leave your memories and tributes below—the family would be most grateful--Ingrid Young.
“The sense of the world is short,
Long and various the report--
To love and be beloved . . .
‘Tis not to be improved.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” – Theodore RoethkeTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Christopher Hutchinson, please visit Tribute Store
Celebration of Life
In Loving Memory
1938 - 2024
who we are:
Affordable Funeral Options - Cremation & Burial is focused on providing high quality service and customer satisfaction at an affordable cost.