2017-11-08 / Front Page

WWII vet reflects on life of service

810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomepaper.com

Gordon Hutson Gordon Hutson It was the summer of ’42 and the world was engulfed in the Second World War.

That was when five buddies, just graduated from Gladwin High School, drove down to Bay City to enlist in the military.

One of the friends was inducted into the Navy on the spot. The other four were sent back home because they weren’t yet 18. Among the four was Gordon “Gordie” Hutson, now of Sandusky.

“When we got back to Gladwin, my friend’s mother was not happy,” reminisced the 94-year-old Hutson. “See, none of us had told our parents anything about it.”

Come Jan. 21, 1943, Gordie got his chance. Uncle Sam took him into the U.S. Army.

“Don’t misunderstand,” said Hutson, “I was never in combat. But I did get shipped later that year to the Philippines as a loader on a 90-millimeter anticraft gun crew.

Refereeing ain’t so bad! One of the highlights of Gordie Hutson’s 45 years in officiating was meeting this unidentified Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. Refereeing ain’t so bad! One of the highlights of Gordie Hutson’s 45 years in officiating was meeting this unidentified Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. “The enemy must not have had enough planes to keep us busy,” laughed Gordie, “because soon I was transferred to the infantry.”

That’s when an old skill served him well.

“They found out I could type,” explained Gordie, “so they put me in an office making out payroll and work details.

“You see, I played football in high school. Hurt my hand in the very first scrimmage. My typing teacher told me I couldn’t go on in the typing class with a bad hand. I asked, ‘If I can keep up with the work, can I stay?’ It was agreed I’d give it a try. The teacher didn’t know I had some girls all lined up to help me. I was able to finish the class and learned how to type. That’s how I ended up in an Army office.”

On Feb. 23, 1946, Hutson was discharged with the rank of Corporal T-5.

There was no shortage of Hutson men who heeded the call of duty and served in WW II. Gordie showed a picture of a WW II monument in his native Gladwin upon which was inscribed the names of Gordon Hutson, his two brothers, and two cousins.

“Five of us went,” he said. “My one brother served with General Patton in Europe, and my other brother served as a heavy equipment operator in England.”

Gordie is the youngest of the six children of Bert and Maude Gordon of Gladwin. (He also had three sisters).

When asked what he had to say of his military service, and that of his family and friends, Gordie stated, “We had a job to do. And we did what we were supposed to do.”

Hutson said that when he got back to Gladwin he was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life.

“I tended bar for a while. Then one day a fellow came to see me to ask if I wanted a job cutting meat for A & P grocers. I didn’t know how to cut meat, but that didn’t matter. They sent me to school in Detroit for two weeks to learn how.

“I was single so they bounced me all over Michigan filling in for butchers who were on vacation. Then, they fired the butcher here in town, and that’s how I came to Sandusky. That was in 1951,” said Hutson.

It didn’t take long for Gordie to put down roots in his new community.

“I was working the meat counter one day when a young lady came in. I’d never seen her before. Later we found out we lived in the same rooming house behind what is now China Lee’s. One upstairs and one downstairs. One working days and one working nights. We never ran into each other until that moment.

“She was all sad because her father had promised her that she could use the family car to take some friends to the movies and changed his mind. I gave her the keys to my Buick and told her to bring it back whenever she was done.

“We were married eight days later, even though she was already engaged to another man!”

The young lady was Sandusky native Wilma Smith, who became Gordie’s wife of 50 years.

“Married 50 years!” he said. “Nowadays you’re lucky to hit 50 days.”

The newlyweds soon settled down in the home they bought in Sandusky where Gordie still lives. Wilma passed on in 2001.

The couple had one child, daughter Debbie Seaman.

Gordie had many occupations over the years. He cut meat at A & P, went on the road selling for Armour Meats, went into business with Harold Brown founding the old Central Market (which became Jerry’s Foodland). He worked at Gamble’s installing tile and countertops, worked for a while at Travco in Brown City until it closed. He also worked as a janitor for Bader & Sons (now Tri-County Equipment).

But it was at Travco where Gordie was introduced to one of his life’s passion, refereeing athletic events, including high school.

“I got licensed first in football, then basketball, baseball, and softball,” said Hutson. “I did it for 45 years.”

Gordon said some of the highlights of his career in officiating came when he met a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and when he refereed a Harlem Globe Trotters basketball game.

Hutson also served 40 years on the Sandusky Fire Department. He has been active in the Sandusky VFW Post for many years. He was a charter member of the Jaycees, and of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Gordie has two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

“I like Sandusky well enough,” said Hutson. “I’ve stayed busy here. I give God the credit. He’s been very good to me.”

Daughter Debbie said of her father, “Dad’s resilient and keeps going. Even through a triple bypass in 1999.

“He and Mom always stressed doing for others. Dad would take people to the airport, or to the doctor, or hand out food at the food bank. Wherever somebody needed help, Dad was there. He still loves to work the ticket booth and the concession stand at (high school) games. Even if he wasn’t my dad, he’s the type of person I’d still want to hang out with,” she said.

What advice does the 94-year-old Hutson have for the younger generation?

“Stay out of trouble,” he answered.

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