M. David Hutchens Sr., carver
By RITA FARLOW
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- M. David Hutchens Sr., a longtime woodcarver and custom builder, died Monday (Feb. 12, 2001) at Westminster Shores Health Center. He was 85.
During a career that spanned more than three decades at Jonathan Jones Signs in St. Petersburg, Mr. Hutchens built the "Fairy Tale" attraction at Busch Gardens in Tampa. He also carved birds and built artificial trees and props for animal acts at the park.
He also carved the bird logos for the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
He retired in 1980.
Working with wood since his childhood, he was once featured in the national Weekly Reader magazine for children. In 1972, Mr. Hutchens built a miniature steam engine, the "MC and C Express," for his grandchildren. He also constructed pew rails for several area churches.
He was born in Willow Branch, Ind., and came here in 1945 from Charleston, S.C., where he had been stationed in the Coast Guard during World War II.
Mr. Hutchens attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. He was a charter member of Oakhurst United Methodist Church in Seminole and served on its board of trustees.
He was a Boy Scout scoutmaster at Anona United Methodist Church, Largo.
Survivors include two sons, David, Winter Park, and Steve, Old Town; two brothers, Fred, San Diego, Texas, and Paul, Staunton, Va.; and three grandchildren, Merrill David Hutchens III, Pinellas Park, Christine Crowther, Northport, Ala., and Chantel Reiter, Largo.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Oakhurst United Methodist Church, 13400 Park Blvd. N, Seminole. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the building fund at Oakhurst UMC.
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