Greensburg Fire Dept. plans public service to honor Hutchinson
Whenever Marianne Anzovino butted heads with longtime friend J. Edward "Hutch" Hutchinson, she threatened to build a statue in his honor.
"He never liked notoriety," said Anzovino, general manager of The Aerobic Center at Lynch Field in Greensburg.
The longtime fire chief would laugh, and the two would quickly forget about their argument and get back to figuring out how to make Greensburg better.
Hutchinson probably won't get a statue outside the aerobic center, but a plaque in his honor will be installed in the near future, Anzovino said. Hutchinson and a group of firefighters got together to build the center in 1978.
At 2 p.m. Sunday the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department will host a public memorial service for Hutchinson at the Palace Theatre on West Otterman Street, said Assistant Fire Chief Robert Manley.
"For what he's done, the guy deserves it," Manley said.
Hutchinson, who served decades as Greensburg's fire chief, died Sunday . He was 96.
The details are being arranged but local lawmakers are expected to attend, and Gov. Tom Wolf has been invited, Manley said.
Hutchinson's funeral will be private, but on Wednesday morning fire trucks from around the county will line the streets around the Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home in Greensburg to honor Hutchinson, Manley said.
"There's nobody I know of that could come close to who he was," Anzovino said. "He was the kindest man, the most generous."
A set of firefighter's turnout gear is draped over a bell that rests outside Greensburg Hose Company No. 3. "Rest in Peace, Chief Hutch," reads a sign above the display.
Despite his contributions to the community, Hutchinson didn't like a lot of fanfare.
"Anytime we were out anywhere ... as soon as the job was done he'd say, 'Wrap it up, let's get out of here,'" his son Keith Hutchinson said. "He was like the Lone Ranger. People would say, 'Who was that guy?' He didn't want credit."
Whenever Hutchinson heard about a problem, he would pull out a sheet of paper and start drawing up solutions at his workbench, said Bill Reese, a veteran Hempfield firefighter and township supervisor who worked with Hutchinson on many initiatives.
"People knew that Hutch would be there when something happened," said Reese, who owns Creekside Landscape Supply in Southwest Greensburg. "When he spoke, people respected him."
Things happened when Hutchinson picked up a phone. Whether it was building a pool at the aerobic center, creating the county 911 system or organizing hurricane relief efforts in South Carolina, Hutchinson could always find donors and volunteers to make his plans a reality.
He was a man with a lot of plans.
"One of the things he taught us was not to be afraid to ask for stuff," Reese said.
And he would never ask for anything he wouldn't do himself.
His son Kevin Hutchinson said he never knew what the day would bring when he went into work with his dad at Hutchinson and Gunter Sheet Metal Works on Grove Street.
One day they'd build a ramp for a child in a wheelchair, another they'd haul donated furniture to a family who had lost theirs in a fire.
"I could walk into the shop and he'd say 'we're going to build this today," he said.
The chief seemed unstoppable, Kevin Hutchinson said.
"We never thought Superman would die," he said.
President Finger and the entire Seton Hill University community extend our condolences on the loss of longtime Greensburg Fire Chief and Seton Hill University Honorary Degree Recipient Ed Hutchinson. His dedication to making the Greensburg community safer will never be forgotten.— Seton Hill U. (@setonhill) April 16, 2018
"We at Saint Vincent join his family and countless friends in mourning the loss of City of Greensburg Fire Chief Ed Hutchinson," Douglas R. Nowicki, Archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey, said in a statement. "We also join them in giving thanks to the Lord for the gift of this wonderful man, who has so positively affected the lives of so many of us in our community. It is an honor to have been counted among his friends."
Hutchinson was tireless in his efforts to improve his community, Keith Hutchinson said.
"People say you can't do it, but there was nothing he didn't get done," he said.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Soolseem.