HOUGHTON – Ruth Fancher Hutton, 92, died Feb. 14, 2014, at Olean General Hospital in Olean after a short illness.
She was born Feb. 10, 1922, in the parlor of the family home in Houghton. She was the daughter of H. LeRoy Fancher and Isabella Stebbins Fancher and attended local schools, graduating from Houghton Academy in 1939 and from Houghton College in 1943.
She taught English and math for two years in Bliss, N.Y., and spent a year teaching at a children’s home in Hazard, Ky., before earning a master's degree in Christian education in 1947 at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. She then moved to Vermont to work as an itinerant Bible teacher in the public schools with New England Fellowship.
At one farm where she stayed on weekends she became acquainted with a young man, Lindol Hutton. Although she declined his first proposal of marriage, in the end she agreed to marry him.
Ruth had no idea that saying yes to a Vermont farmer would bring her back to her hometown to raise six children with him and teach at Houghton College, where her father and Fancher aunts and uncles before her had served. As she often reminded us, God gives us not what we think we want, but what He knows we need.
The couple were married on Aug. 5, 1950, in Houghton and spent their first three years of married life living on his farm in West Barnet, Vt., before moving to Houghton so Lindol could attend Houghton College.
While raising their six children, Ruth taught English part time at Houghton Academy, then taught at Houghton College from 1962 to 1988, retiring as associate professor of English. She also earned a master’s degree in speech communication from SUNY Brockport in 1977.
She was “Mrs. Hutton” to years of college students and a mentoring mother to a special few, and in retirement she was "Grandma Ruth" to Houghton Church Valley Preschoolers. She also started the Genesee Valley Habitat for Humanity, and wrote a weekly column, From the Rocking Chair, for the Wellsville Daily Reporter. Ruth and Lindol were members of the Houghton Wesleyan Church and Gideons International.
Among her many interests and passions were sewing, flower gardening, wallpapering, furniture refinishing, reading, travel – especially to visit grandchildren – and sharing the love of Christ with all her family and friends. Ruth would be the first to tell you that the most important yes she ever said was to receive Jesus Christ as her Savior in a children’s service led by her Aunt Marietta Fancher in the old Houghton Church building.
In addition to her husband of 63 years, the family includes four sons, Jeremy (Lisa) Hutton of Lincolnton, Ga., Timothy (Sue) Hutton of Brantford, Ont., Roderic (Carolyn) Hutton of Madbury, N.H., and Willard (Donna) Hutton of Holland, Mass.; two daughters, Nancy Jo (David) Pullen of Houghton and Rebecca Hutton of Houghton; 26 grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and a foster daughter, Kelly Turner-Irland, of Daytona Beach, Fla. Ruth was predeceased by two brothers, Charles Fancher and Rocky (Betty) Fancher, and a sister, Esther (Douglas) Lister., and a grandchild, Gloria Hutton. She is survived by two sisters, Margaret (Fred) Serley of Haverhill, Mass., and Joanna Fancher of Tempe, Ariz.; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Family and friends may gather from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, at Kopler-Williams Funeral Home, 21 North Genesee St., Fillmore, and from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Houghton Wesleyan Church, where a funeral service will follow at 2. Rev. Dr. Wesley Oden will officiate. Burial will be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Houghton.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Wellspring Ministries, 5993 County Road 16, Belfast, NY 14711; Houghton Academy; or Houghton Wesleyan Church food pantry.