Robert Henry Hutchinson

Robert Henry Hutchinson

Robert Henry Hutchinson was born in Williams Lake, B.C. on April 20, 1927; he was 3rd in a line up of 6 boys and a sister born to Lillian Alberta Curtis of Canoe Creek, B.C. and Frederick Sterling Hutchinson of St. Stephens, NB.

Bob had deep ties to the history of Williams Lake through his maternal family. His mother Lillian Curtis came from a large pioneering family from the Cariboo; Lillian’s mother was Julia (Dussault) Curtis of Williams Lake and her father Harry Curtis of Birmingham, England who built the first saw mill in Williams Lake in the 1920’s Bob’s father, Frederick Hutchinson was Williams Lake’s first Station Master for the PGE in the 1920’s. Fred Sr. met and married Lillian Curtis while he was station manager and she was living up on the original Curtis homestead (Curtis Pond) currently Westridge Estates.

The couple lived in the apartment above the Railroad Station until Frederick senior got a job as mine manager for the Pioneer Gold Mine in Bralorne. Bob lived his younger years in Bralorne but eventually moved back to Williams Lake to continue his schooling.

At the age of 15 (1942) Bob put his schooling on hold to pursue his dream of being a cowboy on one of the Cattle Ranches throughout the Cariboo. He ventured out on horse back and got his first job at the Alkali Lake Ranch (Douglas Lake Ranch) where he eventually met his life-long friend Tex Fosbery and together they worked a few different ranches in the Cariboo all while WWII was going on. Tex wrote a book “The Cariboo and Beyond” about his adventures and tells about meeting Bob and some of their experiences of being young men working as cowhands. At 17 or 18, Bob was the last of the Hutch boys that went into military training for WWII. He completed his training in Ontario but by the time he finished, the war was over and so fortunately didn’t see any action.

Bob had many stories of survival but one of his greatest adventures was when he went to live with his uncle, Ray Curtis. Ray had a ranch but spent summers guiding survey parties where Bob joined him when he guided a team of map surveyors from Williams Lake to Bralorne over the Coastal Mountains in the late 1940’s. They survived some very tenacious crossings over creeks and rivers made treacherous from the spring melt and navigated some incredible mountain peaks, all on horseback.

Bob met Aver Blanche Jefferson in Big Lake, BC and they married November 18, 1950. Aver grew up in Big Lake, so with Bob’s love and experience of ranching and Aver’s (Bob’s “right-hand man”) knowledge and adventurous spirit, it was natural that they found a quiet place out in Beaver Valley where together they built a homestead compete with cattle over their 50+ years together. Bob and Aver did not have children but made up for it with both coming from big families with lots of siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends that loved to go visit “Beaver Valley Bob” and hang out at their house on Beaver Lake. When Aver began having health issues they sold the ranch and moved into Williams Lake to be close to medical care; Aver passed away January of 2004 and will forever be remembered for her gentle, shy nature and wonderful laugh.

Bob was a very independent soul and continued doing all his own yard work and cooking up to the age of 90. Bob was an avid reader and was well versed in world affairs and loved to watch all types of sports on his big screen TV.

One of Bob’s favourite things was hosting the “Gentleman’s Club” which consisted of many of the Cariboo’s “Old Timers” who would gather every Thursday morning and share their history and solve many of the world’s problems with some good old fashioned common sense!

Bob is predeceased by his wife Aver (Jefferson), his parents Frederick and Lillian, and brothers Donald, Jack, Douglas, Gary, and Frederick.

Survived by Sister Jennie (John) Walker, sisters-in-law Carole Hutchinson and June Hutchinson, cousins Reg Norberg, Midred (Curtis) Gibson, Jackie (Curtis) Frizzi, Donna-Rae (Curtis) Illnicki, Tom Curtis, Cheryl (Midnight) Procter and many nieces and nephews. Our Gentle Giant, “Uncle Bob” to everyone who knew him, will be forever remembered for his calm nature, sense of humour and his “By Golly’s” and “Well I’ll be”.

The Family would like to thank the Caregivers at WL Seniors Village, all of Bob’s friends and extended family for all the wonderful care and affection they showed “Uncle Bob”. His passing leaves a void as big as he was, and he will be dearly missed.

A family gathering will be held at a later date in August 2018. 

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