The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Ruth Hutchison: Fayette Citizen of the Year 2008.07.02

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Never stop learning.

Never stop helping others.

Never stop making music.

And while you’re at it, keep on smiling and laughing, too.

For anyone aiming to follow in the footsteps of Ruth Hutchison, Fayette’s 2008 Citizen of the Year, now you have the formula.

Ruth enthusiastically talks about her college classes.ruth_hutch.jpg

“I’m enrolled at the University of Toledo in the 60 Plus plan,” said the soon-to-be 80-year-old.

She’s taken several classes, but it’s not going as planned. Some of the courses she wanted were dropped before school started. Others conflicted with her work schedule.

“I’ll probably be a hundred by the time I graduate,” Ruth said.

The 60 Plus program allows older students to enroll tuition-free and audit credit classes on a space-available basis.

“As a girl I always wanted to be a band director,” she said. “I want to get into the college marching band.”

Ruth keeps physically fit and she expects she could meet the challenge.

She started working in the Evergreen school system in 1977 as a study hall monitor. After five years, she switched to Fayette. She has 31 years of experience as a study monitor, 26 as a transportation monitor, 26 with student detention, three as the library adult assistant, two as senior play director and one as special education teacher aide. She’s also served as special assistant to the superintendent’s office and cafeteria monitor to fifth and sixth grade students.

“I like to keep busy,” she says.

Ruth was born in Detroit, but her family moved to Swanton when she was young, and then eventually to Wauseon where she attended school.

After high school she attended cosmetology school and married Richard “Dick” Hutchison, a carpenter. After working in Wauseon for a few years, she opened the Kurl-E-Que hair salon on Main Street in Fayette.

Ruth started attending the Fayette Christian Church and she figures she’s been involved in most every position there, from junior choir director to Sunday School teacher.

Dick grew up on a farm, and in 1960, the Hutchisons moved to the country.

“Oh, did I learn a lot,” Ruth said about farm life.

She got a good taste of helping others when a fellow salon worker, Thelma Lucas, was involved with the Y Teens group at the high school.

Thelma asked if she would be willing to give perms to some girls who couldn’t afford it.

Ruth’s good deeds pop into a conversation now and then, but they don’t flow easily.

“My mother always told me not to toot my own horn,” she said.

When she worked at local grocery stores in Fayette, occasionally a young person with financial difficulties would ask to make a purchase on credit. Ruth approved it—and she also covered the cost.

She came from a musical family and the love of performing has stuck with her all her life.

She remembers serving as the fifth and sixth grade music teacher when no classes were available at the school. She bought the music and students gathered at the community room of the library. She remained active in Band Boosters group long after her own children graduated.

Her interest in music was rekindled five years ago when she joined the Delta Community Band, starting off with a second-hand saxophone.

It took a while to really get into the swing of things, but now she hates to miss an outing.

“I’ll go if it’s killing me,” Ruth said. “I love it that much.”

Now Fayette has its own community band and Ruth is still hearing comments about her memorable role last December in “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

To many Fayette residents, that brought to mind The Pretenders, a group of eight women who created comedy routines and raised nearly $40,000 over the years to give to local groups such as Scouts and the Opera House.

This is actually the second time Ruth has been honored because The Pretenders were named Citizens of the Year in 1980.

Ruth looks forward to her first-ever trip to New York City this summer—a visit that will include a behind-the-scenes visit to a theatre.

She also has that second skydiving episode to think about. Her first one came  just shy of her 74th birthday, when one of her grandchildren turned 18. That granddaughter’s younger sister wants the same thing. Ruth will be 84 years old then, but she’ll take the dive once more.

But she’s just talking about herself again and she’d rather change the subject.

“I’m tooting my own horn,” she said. “Sorry, mom.”

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