Larry E. Hutchens, 76, of Stuart, VA, passed away on Monday, April 25, 2022, at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC.
Larry was born on March 10, 1946, to the late Rena Ellis Hutchens and Walter Troy Hutchens. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one sister, Eunice Hutchens Sheppard, and two brothers, Bradford Hutchens and Randolph Hutchens.
Surviving are his wife, Suzanne Hopkins Hutchens of the home, three sons, Jon Hutchens (Sarah) of Roanoke, VA, Ben Hutchens (Sarah) of State College, PA, and Patrick Hutchens (Jessica) of Stuart, VA, and several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Larry was a 1965 graduate of Stuart High School, where he participated in 4-H, FFA, JV basketball, and track. After high school he attended Winston-Salem Business College and served in the US Marine Corps Reserves. He continued educating himself for many years, with selected reading and listening to books on tape as he drove on business trips.
He purchased the local Gulf Oil distributorship from his father-in-law, and over two decades built it into the regional Hutchens Petroleum. After retiring from that success, he bought and restored homes, helping to preserve beloved neighborhoods in his home county. He operated Hutchens Farms, where he raised bees and grew blueberries and other produce to sell at Cobblestone Farmers’ Market in Winston Salem. He probably gave away as much as he sold, and received great joy from sharing tomatoes, berries, honey, asparagus, and walnuts.
Larry was a member of Stuart Presbyterian Church, and a member and past president of Russell Creek Ruritan Club, Patrick County Jaycees, Stuart Rotary Club, and Patrick County Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Boards of Directors for First National Bank of Stuart and Piedmont Trust Bank, RJ Reynolds/Patrick County Memorial Hospital, and the Patrick County Economic Development Committee. He was a co-chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the Patrick County Branch Library.
He was an avid NASCAR fan and faithful follower of Wood Brothers Racing Team and the Raiders football team during their glory years in Oakland, CA. He enjoyed snow-skiing, card games with his buddies, classic country music, and most of all, spending time with his family, especially outdoors and with the grandchildren.
He formerly collected memorabilia of Gulf Oil products and the rural stores that sold them in Patrick County. Gulf memorabilia are widely collected; at its zenith, Hutchens’s collection was thought to be one of the world’s largest.
Larry had an enterprising work ethic, often remarked even by the energetic farmers among whom he grew up. From the time he was in elementary school he was always busy, remaining so until his death. He loved working on the farm, at the office, and at home. As employees, he preferred to hire people who had grown up on farms or served in the military.
His personality was quiet, analytical, and thoughtful, hesitant to criticize but quick to credit those who contributed to community or cause. He often visited friends and shut-ins at home or in assisted living at the Landmark Center. His sense of humor was mischievous but not malicious, and his kindness and generosity will be sorely missed by all who were blessed to know him.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to Stuart Presbyterian Church P.O. Box 944. Stuart, VA 24171 or Patrick County Branch Library P.O. Box 787 Stuart, VA 24171.
Norris Funeral Services in Stuart is serving the Hutchens family. Online condolences may be made at www.norrisfuneral.com