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Myrtle E. Hutchins, 102

Myrtle Evelyn Cecelia Hutchins, age 102, of Litchfield, died Saturday, April 9, 2011, at the Dassel Lakeside Nursing Home.

A memorial service will take place Thursday, June 23 at 2 p.m. at First Lutheran Church in Litchfield, with visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at Lake Ripley Cemetery in Litchfield.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to First Lutheran Church or Lakeside Healthcare Center Entertainment fund.

Arrangements are being handled by Johnson-Hagglund Funeral Home in Litchfield; online guestbook at www.johnsonhagglund.com.

Myrtle was born Sept. 24, 1908, in Ivanhoe, MN, to Joseph and Anna (Abrahamson) Josephson.

She attended school in McGregor, MN. She graduated at 17 years old, and enrolled that summer in a teacher training program. She was hired to teach school that year by her uncle, who was on the school board.

Myrtle then attended Duluth Teacher’s College to continue her teaching education. During World War II, she taught school in Dassel, Darwin, and the District 65 one-room school.

Myrtle went on to attend summer sessions at St. Cloud State College, and in 1953, she received a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from St. Cloud State College. She received a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota in 1963.

Through the years, Myrtle taught in schools in Tillamook, OR; Rialto, CA; Canada; Frobisher Bay in the Baffin Islands, and Fort Chimo, both in the Arctic; in Alaska; and in Yukon. Before retiring from teaching in 1973, she also taught at Lincoln School in Willmar, and Groveland School in Wayzata.

Myrtle married Maynard Engebretson Sept. 7, 1929, during the Depression. They shared 51 years of marriage until Maynard died March 13, 1980.

Their oldest son, Maynard, Jr., was born in 1934, while they lived on a turkey farm north of Litchfield; and their youngest son, Marvin, was born in Litchfield in Residence Park in 1937. Myrtle was then a housewife with two small boys, and she also cleaned houses to pay the doctor bills.

At the end of WWII, Maynard and Myrtle bought a 120-acre farm south of Litchfield. They built a new house on the farm, by their own hand, and converted the old house into an Eskimo museum, which was visited by many people, tours, and school groups until it was sold in 1978. In the winter, they would migrate to Texas and Arizona in their house trailer.

After Maynard’s death, Myrtle lived alone in Apache Junction, AZ. She advertised for a traveling companion, found one, and subsequently married him, Glen Hutchins. Myrtle and Glen spent many happy years traveling around the US, and spent several summers as volunteer greeters at national parks in Utah and Michigan. Glen died in 1992.

Myrtle then became a global volunteer and traveled to Poland, Spain, and Italy. She also worked as a volunteer for Bürgermeisteramt Stegen, offering English lessons for children and their families in Germany.

In her later years, Myrtle won an Ageless Heroes award. She was also named Ms. Congeniality in the Ms. Arizona Contest.

At age 92, she worked in Yellowstone National Park for Hamilton Stores. Her wanderlust also led her to Whispering Pines in Warrenton, MO.

From there, she returned home to Minnesota in March 2007, to Augustana Homes in Litchfield, where she celebrated her 100th birthday, and then on to Lakeside Apartments and Lakeside Healthcare Center in Dassel.

Myrtle is survived by her youngest sister; two sons; six grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild.