Fri, Jan 19, 2018 08:52 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Bridge dedication to honor Hutchinsons

Mary Jane and the late Bill Hutchison (click for larger version)
PAINTSVILLE — An Eastern Kentucky businesswoman and her late husband will be honored next week for their accomplishments in and contributions to Eastern Kentucky as a bridge will be dedicated in their honor.

During the 1970s, there were few fast-food restaurants in Eastern Kentucky, but Bill and Mary Jane Hutchison changed that on Oct. 6, 1979, when they opened their first McDonald’s store in Paintsville, providing jobs for 80 people.

On Monday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m., state and county officials with gather to honor Mary Jane Hutchison and her late husband, Bill, for their “vision, hard work, and faith in Eastern Kentucky during a time when few people were making significant economic investments in the region,” according to a release from the state Department of Highways.

The bridge on U.S. 23 over Ky. 40 near Paintsville in Johnson County will be officially named the Bill and Mary Jane Hutchison Bridge.

Lt. Gen. Maxwell Clay Bailey, Kentucky’s newly-appointed transportation secretary and a native of Paintsville, will be the keynote speaker at the event, which will be held in the Paintsville Tourism and Information Center just off U.S. 23.

Joining Bailey on the agenda will be former Transportation Secretary James C. Codell, who signed the official order on Nov. 3 to name the bridge. Other participants include state Rep. Hubert Collins, Johnson County Judge-Executive Tucker Daniel, Paintsville Mayor Doug Pugh, state Sen. Ray S. Jones II and Highway District 12’s chief district engineer, Danl Hall.

In addition, Dennis Dorton, CEO of Citizens National Bank, will participate, as will James Brown, vice president of National City Bank in Louisville. Brown began his working career at age 16 at McDonald’s in Pikeville.

Bill Hutchison, who died in 1986, grew up in the Summit County Children’s Home in Akron, Ohio. He married his teenage sweetheart, Mary Jane Darr, in June 1941, just months before he joined American forces fighting World War II. While he served in the 82nd Airborne from December 1941 until the end of the war, Mary Jane worked in Goodyear Aerospace’s plant in Akron, manufacturing and assembling airplane components.

When Bill Hutchison came home, the couple worked at the Summit County Children’s home while they started their own family, which includes five sons: Bill (B.J.), Herb, Ed, and Bob and Tom.

Bill Hutchison began his career with McDonald’s in the late 1950s. After more than 20 years with the company, he and Mary Jane opened their own store in Paintsville, moving to Johnson County in 1979. He was active with the Tri-State Yankees, the children’s home that was formerly located in Johnson County, the Future Farmers of America, and just about any other organization that desired assistance.

Mary Jane Hutchison was active in the Johnson County Homemakers.

The Hutchisons’ vision now encompasses 11 stores in seven counties. McDonald’s currently employs more than 600 people, although over the past 24 years they have provided employment opportunities for tens of thousands of people throughout the Big Sandy region.

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