James Lealand Hutchings of Fort Lauderdale FL, known to friends as "JACK", passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at the age of 79. A native of Pontiac, Mi., Jack graduated from Pontiac High School in 1956. He was a bigger than life figure, who defied all boundaries in life and never let his loss of vision stop him from accomplishing his dreams with the gifts God gave him at birth. Jack was a talented musician, who in 1957, was the lead singer in the high school vocal group called The Hi-Tones. In 1968, he founded his first company S&H Fabricating and Engineering, Inc. from his garage with just a few hundred dollars in his pocket. The company became the largest privately held automotive AC company to GMC in North America. During this time, he was awarded the distinguished Horatio Alger Award. This prestigious award is given to only 10 people per year in Washington, DC, for following the American Dream and going from rags to riches. In 1998, Jack sold what he called his "baby company". Being that he could not stay bored, he then went on and founded Hutchings Automotive Products, Inc. He liked creating and inventing things with his hands. His passions were deep sea fishing on the Lady Columbo, cruising on his yacht The Barbara Jean and sailing the world on his sailboat The Georgia. He was a very generous and charismatic man. He could be downright stubborn, but everyone knew the he was a teddy bear inside. He touched so many people's lives and leaves behind an enormous void with his passing. Jack leaves behind his wife of over 50 years, Barbara Jean Hutchings, his sons and daughters-in law Ronald & Lucia Hutchings, Wesley & Rachel Hutchings and Kevin and Karen Hutchings; his daughters and son-in law Diane & Peter Stenborg II and Kathy J. Hutchings. Also, he leaves behind thirteen grandchildren, four great grandchildren, his brother Donald W. Hutchings and sisters Dolores Condon, Sally, Sandy, Susy, Joe and Pat. The family requests memorial donations to the Children's Home Society.
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Surfing the net and thinking about old acquaintances I stumbled on the sad news that Jack has passed away. Although I have not seen nor talked to Jack for over twenty years I want anyone who reads this to know that Jack was in the top 10 people who have had a positive influence on my life.
I helped Jack and Avon Rubber plc set up what for me was the highlight of my career........the Avon S&H JV in Wiltshire UK and then moved it to South Wales. Jack and his team (in particular Phil Leonhardt, Frank Mueller and Don MacTavish) taught me more about how to be a real manager than any group before or since. I owe Jack and I miss him, a true great! My love and best wishes to Barbora and the rest it the Hutchings family. I feel your loss, there is no act that can follow Jack.
I had the privilege to know and work for Jack and his wonderful family. This news is truely sad. He had such a good sense of humour and good heart. I have so many great memories from the Hutchings family. Love Jill from Barbara Jean.
Guy was a prick. Stubborn to say the least. Used lawyers to screw people
I went to work for Jack as his family Captain in 1984 on their 65 foot Yacht Lady Columbo.
He later bought a 114' Broward a year later. Jack was wonderful to work for and also wonderful to be with. I never felt like I was working when I was with Jack and Barbara, they made me feel like a member of the family. It was fun and always interesting. Jack had a great humor, he could see thru everyone and poke fun at them. I will miss his smile, humor, kindness, Jack taught me much in life. Things that really make one a better person, He could be all things and made it look easy. He was generous to me, he made everyone feel they where important. I always wished I could have half of his gifts in life. His eyes saw more then anyone I ever knew. I will miss you Jack. You went to fast.
Always found memories of Jack. My favorite was entertaining his guests at his Christmas party. Only he knew it was one of the first digital player pianos. We fooled them all. Rest In Peace my friend.
We send our deepest condolences to the Hutchings family for their loss. Jack has been my inspiration early on in my career and taught me to stand for what I believe in and not take any bull. Jack will be missed and always remembered.
Thomas Radstake and Family
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