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Dr. Richard E. Hutcheson


“BLINDMAN’S BLUFF: To see means to believe that you have seen, but who needs eyes to believe?”

Dr. Richard E. Hutcheson, formally of Potsdam, passed away February 5, 2014, at Kendal at Ithaca surrounded by family and friends. He was born 1120/28 in Virginia and grew there and the Washington, DC area. He was the son of Joseph Hutcheson and Nina Ruth Nunnery Hutcheson. Richard became blind at age 7 and attended Maryland School for the Blind and then the Virginia School for the Blind. Recognizing the limitations of the schools, he convinced George Washington High School to admit him where he graduated with honors. While in high school he began his life-long love for music playing in a dance band as their piano player. Blindness never stopped Richard from fully participating in all aspects of high school life including wrestling and track. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at William and Mary College in Virginia graduating Phi Beta Kappa. As a student at William and Mary, he wrote and produced musicals including “Heaven Help Us”. He continued his education at Harvard University earning an MA and PhD in Philosophy. Later he obtained a certificate in Higher Education Management from the Harvard Business School. Richard taught philosophy and classics for 40 years in universities and colleges in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Indiana, and New York. For two years, he was special assistant to the president of Kansas State University coordinating programs eight colleges. Concluding his career at SUNY Potsdam he was the Dean of Arts and Sciences and Provost. In this capacity he served on several accreditation teams for national higher education accrediting agencies, The Ford Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, and has conducted management training workshops for the AAHE and AASCU.

Upon retirement, Richard and his wife, Elizabeth, traveled the world extensively until moving to Kendal at Ithaca in 1998. He continued his involvement in the community by serving. on the Human Resources Committee, Nominating Committee, the Quality of Life Committee. and the committee to search for a new CEO. Richard served as one of Kendal’s first Ombundspersons. Most recently he was involved with the Residents’ Council serving as President-Elect, President, and Past-president. Through his involvement with the Kendal Poetry Group, he honed his creative skills and was able to complete a collection of poems written at Kendal to be published posthumously.

He was predeceased by his wife of 46 years, Elizabeth Hutcheson. He is survived by his sister, Betty Hodges of Centerville, Maryland, his daughters Sara Hutcheson of Canton, New York, Amy Hutcheson of Talent, Oregon, and grandson Zachary Hutcheson of Canton, New York. He is also survived by his companion of 13 years, Cynthia Robinson and many close Kendal friends.

At his wishes, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his name to the Rainy Day Fund at Kendal at Ithaca or Hospicare of Ithaca. Bangs Funeral Home will be assisting the Family.

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