Lloyd D. Hutchins, Jr
EAST BARRE, VT – Lloyd D. Hutchins, Jr., 86, of East Barre passed away on Wednesday afternoon, January 3, 2024, at the UVM Medical Center.
Born on September 18, 1937, in West Topsham, he was the son of the late Lloyd D. and Claire (Elmer) Hutchins, Sr. At the family homestead, Lloyd’s father kept a small farm while also working out of town as a machinist in Bowen Hunter Bobbin Company. With the birth of Lloyd’s brother, Gary, in 1940, the demands on Claire, in tending for a newborn, liberated the three-year-old toddler from his “mother’s apron strings”. His father gladly took charge of Lloyd, and from this union, an extraordinary bond developed: both a mechanical aptitude and a subsequent love of machinery were passed from father to son. These proclivities provided him with direction, purpose, and a shared investment to mutual, filial ambitions.
In 1945, the family moved to Barre, and within a year Lloyd Sr. began the first of his business ventures, L. D. Hutchins Insulation Company. Lloyd Jr. attended West Topsham Clement School through the first grade, but with the move to Barre, his education involved neighborhood grammar schools and then Spaulding High School from which in 1956, he graduated.
On October 19, 1957, he married Maude Montandon. Three daughters, Ann Marie, Tammy Sue, and Wendy Lee followed, but the marriage ended in 1964. On July 26, 1966, Lloyd married the love of his life, Nancy Hackett, and in February 1967, gave birth to their daughter, Jona Dee.
After school, Lloyd joined his father in his nascent enterprise, Dixie Bobbin Company, which produced bobbins for the southeastern U.S. based textile industry. A manufacturing business, heavily dependent on machinery, engaged Lloyd on many levels, and over the years, as the company grew, required that he wear a variety of hats. In 1977 Lloyd moved his small family to Greenville, SC to assume the company’s sales. After many years in the South, Lloyd and Nancy returned to Vermont. In 1993, he and Nancy purchased his father’s first pursuit, the renamed, Hutchins Roofing Company. The husband/wife team has continued in their everyday participation and direction of the company.
He had a lifelong passion for stock car racing in Vermont and throughout the Northeast. Lloyd was a fan of Vermont’s earliest racetrack and befriended Ken Squier when both men were in their early 20’s. A fateful trip to the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959 inspired them to build their own track, which became the now legendary Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre. Among his many duties during the construction of the track, Lloyd was responsible for implementing the original railroad ties that made up the infamous “widow maker” wall that Thunder Road became known for when it opened in June 1960.
Lloyd served as technical inspector at both Thunder Road and Northeastern Speedway in Waterford and he also owned and prepared cars for his brother-in-law Henry “The Frozen Logger” Montandon. Their crowning achievement was a victory in the prestigious Labor Day Classic in 1963.
Lloyd left the racing scene by the end of the decade but returned to it in the 1990’s with a passion for preserving the sport’s history. He owned and restored many of the original ‘60’s era coupes that played a prominent role in the pioneering years of not just Thunder Road, but many tracks in the region. He was a founding committee member of the New England Auto Racing (NEAR) Hall of Fame in 1998 and remained in that role until his passing. He was the organizer of “NEAR North” and oversaw the club in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, which included on-track competitions and the display of a mobile museum truck that he built with his close friends, the late Cho Lee. Together, Lloyd and Cho collected tens of thousands of photographs and pieces of racing memorabilia to share with fans, and more recently, Lloyd continued his passion for restoring old racecars with friend John Adams.
Lloyd was a dedicated sponsor for driver Jason Corliss and the Burnett Motorsports team as well as driver Mike Ducey. Corliss brought the Hutchins name to victory lane in three Vermont Milk Bowls and has won four championships at Thunder Road. Both drivers painted their cars pink and numbered them 76 in honor of Lloyd and Henry’s 1963 win.
Appropriately, Lloyd was honored by NEAR in November 2023 with the Frank Maratta Award for outstanding contributions to the sport during his lifetime.
Lloyd was also involved with and served on the board of directors for the New England Racing Museum in Loudon, NH. His extensive knowledge of New England motor racing had finally found an outlet. His dedication to this museum endured to the end.
Survivors include his wife Nancy Hackett Hutchins; his daughters Jona Dee Carver, Ann Marie Hutchins, Tammy Sue Hutchins, and Wendy Lee Hutchins; his grandchildren Jonathan, Chloe, Sarah, and Amelia and his brothers Gary Lee Hutchins, and Randal Brent Hutchins.
He was also predeceased by his sister-in-law Mary H. Welch and son-in-law Gregory S. Carver.
The service to honor and celebrate his life will be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. in the Hooker Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy Street, Barre. Family and friends may call on Tuesday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Interment will take place in the West Topsham Cemetery in the spring at a date and time to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Vermont Historical Society, 60 Washington Street, Suite 1, Barre, VT or to the New England Racing Museum at New England Racing Museum, PO Box 7011, Loudon, NH 03307. Donations in Lloyd's memory can also be made through the New England Racing Museum website.