STOWE, Vt. — Samuel Hale Hutchins died unexpectedly Monday, Dec. 8, 2008 in his Nebraska Valley home. He was 17 years old.
He was a young man who took time to understand others, who now worry that they didn’t take time to understand him. And they remember him as a force, carving a path in their lives like ski tracks through new snow — fleeting yet vivid.
Sam loved the outdoors. As a boy, he came downstairs one winter morning, looked out the window and burst into tears because the snow had melted. He climbed the Adirondack’s 46 highest peaks as part of a hiking family. He carried his love of mountains into winter, climbing Mount Mansfield in his plaid Timberland flannel shirt before school with friends and a teacher.
Sam loved to run. His kindness showed in his victory during Vermont’s Division III State Cross-Country Championship. During the race, his longtime rival’s legs cramped. Sam stopped to help, but his rival told him to keep running. Sam did. But he stopped again to report that his rival needed help.
His compassion came naturally. For example, Sam took his 82-year-old grandmother, who was recovering from leg surgery, on a hike — deftly guiding her through her insecurities to her old-time assurance.
Sam loved to be with his brothers, Ben and Jake, with whom he’d roamed the Nebraska Valley on foot and on skis since he took his first steps. In recent years, though, both have been away at college. Anyone in the family could tell when one of them was at home; Sam’s grin and the sparkle in his eyes would signal their return.
Sam is survived by his mother, Heather Hale; his father, Frederick Janney Hutchins and his partner, Maree Gaetani; his brothers: Benjamin Swan Hutchins and John Messer Hutchins, all of Stowe, Vt.; his maternal grandparents: Edward and Barbara Messer Hale of Keene; his paternal grandparents, Waldo and Carol Fennely Hutchins of Glen Head; aunts; uncles and cousins; and his extended Nebraska Valley family.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. in Nebraska Valley at the barn. The service will be informal and in a tent. Wear appropriate footwear and dress accordingly.
Memorial contributions to support local cross-country athletes may be made in Sam Hutchins’ name to the Stowe High School Cross-Country Team, 413 Barrows Rd, Stowe, VT 05672.