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Letter: Newton County loses valuable asset

Dear Editor:

On Jan. 11 Covington and Newton County lost a beloved native son to Melanoma. Jimmy Hutchins grew up near the square. A few years ago he returned from Gwinnett County to  help out with family. He was only 65. Having started at Delta Air Lines in 1979, Jimmy was one of its longest serving employees (and as a result, he and his family were among the most-adventured  people on the planet!).

Jimmy’s tragic early passing leaves a big void in not only the hearts of his family, friends and Delta colleagues,  but also in the Covington and Newton County  communities.

He was a true son of Covington and a true Bulldog.

As one who has known and admired Jimmy since eighth grade at Ficquett, I share a few of our carrot-topped friend’s great qualities:

Essential Kindness and A Heart of Gold: Magnetic in his quiet kindness, Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always low key, thoughtful and steady, he never called for attention. We will miss the simple pleasure of his company, his basic human decency, the “milk of human kindness,” and his shy warmth with all including  strangers.   

Loyalty and Putting Others First: Jimmy was deeply  loyal to  family and friends. Both his mother, Rebecca, and sister, Becky, faced serious lifelong health challenges and he was always there, including trips to distant medical centers.

Hilarity: Anyone who knew Jimmy would   put his wry and self-deprecating humor atop any  list of qualities. It’s a wonder that he didn’t have his own late night talk show!  He could restore good feelings to most  any situation, like when he cooled down a schoolyard scrape  by offhandedly asking the underdog ,  “So Jones,  want me  to call the (local) funeral home?”  And even though always funny, his humor never won at another’s expense. Ironically, his mother expressed relief when his conduct grade plummeted from A to C after he made new friends in middle school: “I’m so glad he’s coming out of his shell,” she said.

Athleticism:. Jimmy was a strong athlete, and in 1965 a charter member of Miss Fowler’s Tennis Club. In his teens he played many tournaments around the state and Southeast. He showed beautiful form, with “touch,”  spin,  angle—and   court sense.  He loved to deceive on court, partly for humor.   But he had a trademark “tell” or tic: before his every serve, standing stork-like he would scratch a leg muscle with the opposite shoelaces.  Was it a subtle giveaway to where the ball was going? No opponent ever figured it out, or escaped the distraction.  

Green Thumb Tomatoes:   In recent years Jimmy , with his green thumb, took up in fruit and vegetable gardening. He grew among other things Jimmy’s Home Grown Tomatoes and sold them at farmers’ markets.

Moving Gadgets: Jimmy loved all things “moving gadget,” from motor scooters/motorcycles to vintage/ antique  cars. He got much pleasure from driving antique cars in local parades.

So we celebrate the memory and  many  great qualities of our wonderful friend..

Donations may be made to

May we all go out and do one kind thing for another person or animal in Jimmy’s memory!

Very truly yours,

Larry Pless