JB Hutton Jr., age 77, served the Dermott Volunteer Fire Department for over 48 years. He had a heart attack and passed away in the line of duty during the 2nd alarm of the day on October 1, 2014. Serving as assistant fire chief, he loved people, his firefighter brothers, and serving his community. A self-employed television repairman/electrician by trade, he kept generators operating, batteries charged for everything from flashlights to the trucks and made sure that the fire engines were kept fueled and ready to go.
In January 2015, he was posthumously awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Shelby Hutton, two sons, two daughters, and nine grandchildren. His favorite hobby was working on his antique CJ-5 Jeep. He enjoyed driving his grandchildren and their dog around in it.
His fellow firemen said the most wonderful things about him. He was always smiling and happy to do anything that was asked of him and more. He was so full of energy and had to be doing something all the time, even if it was just tinkering around in his shop. He taught the younger firemen at every opportunity and was known to be the first one to arrive at the station when the alarm sounded. He was also known to rush out to a fire in the wet, cold winter nights with his shoes on, but no socks! Several of the firemen remarked that he was like a father to them.
JB was very involved in his church. He volunteered to drive the van when children needed to be picked up for Vacation Bible School or if the seniors needed transportation to any activity. He was always ready to show a fire engine to the kids during the town festivals and parades. He was a proud fireman.
He was well known in the community and was someone who would always lend a helping hand. People called him when they needed him to pull their vehicle from a ditch with the Jeep or to install a ceiling fan, or rewire light switches or outlets. In the summer of 2014, one of his 88-year-old friends, a retired doctor, called him to remove a snake from the bedroom in his house. He wasn’t sure how to do it, but he spread moth balls around, “flushed” the snake out, and got rid of it. We joked that he was now also the town snake wrangler. This was his heart: big, full of love for family and friends, and dedicated to firefighting until the end. We miss him terribly.