Philip Surtees Hutchinson, of Montgomery AL, passed away on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Philip was born January 7, 1929 in Gateshead, County Durham, England. Philip attended school in England and joined the British Army at the age of 17 ½. He served for 6 years, spending the majority of his service in Germany where he met his wife, Hedi. Philip completed his military service as a Sergeant, tank commander, with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. He then attended government training school in Scotland as a mechanical draughtsman and in the evening attended Paisley Technical College studying mechanical engineering. Upon completion of these studies, he returned to England and attended Gateshead Technical College to complete his education, and began his career as a mechanical engineer. He married Maria “Hedi” Hutchinson on June 28, 1952 and they remained happily married for 64 years until her death in 2016.
Philip and Hedi immigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1956 and settled in Quebec, Canada for 10 years where they began their family, having David, Linda, and Frances. The family immigrated to the United States in 1966, moving to South Carolina, where they completed their family with the birth of Kathleen. Philip, Hedi, and the family made a final move to Montgomery, AL in 1971.
From an early age, Philip loved trains. He was fascinated by them and began his lifelong hobby of model railroading. He built extensive miniature layouts to include train stations with platforms, industrial business that relied on the railroad, other businesses, homes, mountains, tunnels, etc. It filled the garage. Everyone who saw it was in awe of the detail. It made people feel like a kid again! Philip built engines from scratch, modified engines, painstakingly painting engines and cars, making mountains for the layout with papier-mâché, creating tunnels, painting the garage walls to look like the sky. He was a member of the Central Alabama Model Railroad Club, enjoying his Saturday’s working on the club’s layout and having lunch with the guys. He and his RR buddies would travel the state, showing kids of all ages the joy of model railroading, and traveled the US to visit other clubs.
Philip was preceded in death by his wife, Hedi, and leaves behind his children, David (Mary), Linda (Ed), Frances (Jason), and Kathleen, his grandchildren, Paul (Diane), Michael (Scarlet), Katherine, and Nicholas, and his 3 great grandchildren, Jackson, Charles, and Eleanor.
Philip loved animals having many of his own over the years. He took care of several neighborhood, feral cats by feeding and providing vet services when he could catch them! In that same vein, in lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to your local Humane Society in Philip’s memory.
The family will not be having a funeral service due to COVID restrictions. Instead, Philip and Hedi’s ashes will be buried on family property, serving as the basis of trees where their leaves and branches can continue to watch over and protect their family for years to come.
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