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Thomas E. Hutchinson Sr., veteran, churchman; Jan. 27, 1933 -- Aug. 3, 2011

Thomas E. Hutchinson Sr., a Korean War veteran, churchman and businessman, died Wednesday in his Amherst home after a long illness. He was 78.

Born in Buffalo, he was a 1950 graduate of Amherst High School and served in the Army Corps of Engineers as a construction foreman during the Korean War.

Mr. Hutchinson co-founded Jay-Tee Home Improvement in 1975 and operated the business until his retirement in 2005.

He was instrumental in the formation of the Home Improvement Council of Western New York, where he served as president. The organization honored him with the Outstanding Service Award in 1987 and 1991, and the Devotion Award in 1994.

He also founded the Niagara Frontier Travelers motor coach camping group, and served as the first president from 1976 to 1978. Mr. Hutchinson received a charter in the Family Motor Coach Association in 1976. He also served on a parental advisory board at People Inc.

Mr. Hutchinson was a parishioner of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church since its inception in 1953 and served as an usher. He also was a member of the Holy Name Society his entire adult life.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, the former Mary Ann Wittig; three sons, John, Daniel and Thomas Jr.; two daughters, Ann Burmeier and Teresa; three sisters, Ruth Blair, Virginia Hunting and Ann "Lois" Centers; and a brother, Robert.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today in St. Leo the Great Church, 885 Sweet Home Road, Amherst.