Richard H. Hutchings, M.D., died on October 28, 1947. He was 78 years old.
Doctor Hutchings lived what is commonly described as a full life. He had success in his profession, happiness in marriage and in his children. Although he was stricken suddenly, he had felt for years—because of his age—that death was near. He neither welcomed it nor feared it. But it is most difficult for those of us who saw him daily, who depended on him for guidance, advice and support, to reconcile ourselves to his loss.
Doctor Hutchings had been editor of the two principal scientific publications of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene for twelve years. He had been superintendent of Utica State Hospital for twenty years, from 1919 to 1939. This followed his superintendency of St. Lawrence State Hospital for fourteen years and service in the army of World War I for two years. He was president of the American Psychiatric Association during 1938-1939.
Those of us who worked with him knew him as a leader of his profession, as a person who had made a most satisfactory adjustment with life, as a keen clinician, a fearless thinker, a daring innovator, but most of all as a man, as a tolerant, compassionate human being. He treated the junior members of his editorial board as if they had been his own sons or daughters. He refused to refer to them as assistants or subordinates; they were always colleagues or associates. Finally, for him, patients were always individuals.
Doctor Hutchings' contribution to his profession is well known to his brother physicians here and abroad. We know it was great. We know his pride in the number of mental hospital directors he had trained or helped to train. We know of his numerous scientific publications; and we appreciate his most extraordinary qualifications as an editor and scholar.
But to those of us who were closely associated with him, the shock of his death is too great and too personal for unemotional evaluation of his life and achievements. His loss to psychiatry, and science in general, is great; but we have suffered the loss, not only of a great teacher and mentor, but of an ever-considerate and ever-dependable friend.
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