BREWER - Merle F. Hutchins, 91, husband of the late Florence A. Betts Hutchins, died Sept. 27, 2015 at his home in South Brewer. He was born May 5, 1924 in Bangor, the son of Joe Butera and Corinne Thibodeau; adoptive son of James J. Hutchins of Orland.
Merle was a US Navy veteran of WWII serving in the submarine corps. He worked at the Eastern Fine Paper Mill in South Brewer for over 20 years. While working at the mill he served on the call department of the Brewer Fire Department. When the mill shut down in 1967, Merle was hired by the Brewer Police Department. He served on the force for one year, and eventually worked and retired as a firefighter from the Brewer Fire Department in 1985 after 18 years of service. He was a founding member and president of Brewer Firefighter's Union, Local #2162. Following his retirement, he worked as a custodian at St. Michael's Center in Bangor. Merle loved sports, especially baseball. He was a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox, even getting to meet principal owner John Henry in 2012. Merle spent many evenings watching the Red Sox with his son Mike at their home. One of Merle's favorite accomplishments was visiting roughly twenty baseball stadiums in a single summer. He played second base for the New England "Pipers" Pipe and Supply in the Bangor Fast Pitch Softball League. They won the State Championship in 1955. In addition to watching and playing baseball, Merle enjoyed pitching horseshoes at his father's camp on Pushaw Lake. He was one of the best horseshoe pitchers in Eastern Maine, averaging 90% ringers. He traveled all over the state pitching horseshoes with his son, Mike. Merle was also known to have pitched horseshoes with Ted Williams and Bud Leavitt at the home of friend Dennis Ellingwood in Hampden. He also enjoyed bringing smiles to children's faces while playing the role of Santa for the Head Start Program at the Brewer Auditorium. Following in his father's footsteps, Merle loved cooking his family recipe spaghetti sauce every Sunday noon for his family. His father, Joe Butera, started the tradition by cooking the family sauce every Sunday at his restaurant, Joe's Spaghetti House, on Hancock St. in Bangor.
Surviving are his son, Michael Hutchins of Brewer and three grandchildren; Jon Hutchins and his wife Kate of Bangor, Jennifer Sturtevant and her husband Isaac of Winslow, and Joseph Hutchins of Brewer, as well as one great grandchild, Theodore Sturtevant. Also surviving him are his niece, Maria Staples, her husband Doug, and their son Evan of Hermon. In addition, his close friend and Best Man, Allen "Whitey" White, of Cape Coral, Florida, also survives him. He was predeceased by his daughter-in-law Beth Parkhurst Hutchins RN in 1993, his wife Florence in 2001, his daughter Corinne Hutchins Karst in 2008, and his sister Mary Butera Marsh in 2012.
Family and friends may visit 6-8 PM Thursday at Kiley & Foley Funeral Service, 69 State St., Brewer. A graveside service will be held at 11 AM Friday at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Bangor with Rev. Roger Davis, presiding. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to the Brewer Public Safety Museum, 151 Parkway South, Brewer, ME. 04412.