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Full Circle

May Hutchinson was articulate, intelligent -- a historian's historian

May Hutchinson of Abbeville, SC

We all know the phrase "the circle of life," but May Hutchinson actually lived it. When May died last week at the age of 98, she passed away in the same bed in the same room in the same house where she was born.

May would have appreciated the irony. Abbeville is a community replete with lovers of history, but May was a history lover's history lover.

That love of history often crossed paths with another object of her affection: Trinity Episcopal Church.

One year, during a "ghost tour" presented by The Greater Abbeville Chamber of Commerce to highlight some of Abbeville's historic and "spirited" places, May dressed as the ghost of a young girl said to haunt Trinity from time to time and spoke to those attending the ghost tour about the story of an unfortunate girl.

May always seemed to have a story to tell, whether it was before the Abbeville Rotary Club or to a grateful local reporter.

And she always told her story with grace. Hers was a sharp wit, combined with an even sharper intelligence.

That intelligence went hand-in-hand with an energy and sense of purpose that most of us can only envy.

She served on the board of the Abbeville County Museum, she helped write a historic preservation ordinance for the City of Abbeville, and she also served on the Abbeville Historic Properties Protection Commission, and for many years she led an Elderhostel program based at Erskine and The Belmont Inn, according to her obituary.

To say that she was a remarkable woman was something of an understatement, and people in Abbeville seemed to recognize when she was named to the Abbeville County Hall of Fame some years ago.

It wasn't just her intelligence and her energy that made her special. It was the abundance of special things, like the cats that she loved, or the redwood tree in the yard of her house on North Main in the City of Abbeville, that added seasoning to her life and the lives of all who knew her.

She was a woman of certainty and sweetness, with an elegance that came naturally, and Abbeville will definitely not be the same without her.

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