Roy Hutchinson was born in 1934 in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, Jamaica, son of Ralph Anthony Hutchinson and his wife Lena (nee Brown). He had three brothers and one sister. Growing up in Savana-la-Mar, he attended Mannings High School from 1945 to 1947 before entering “the city set on the hill” in the Easter term of 1948. He was installed in Lower Third (now first Form) and resided in Coke House. Roy grew up through the school system a quiet individual, and when he reached the stages of relative student power in Upper Fourth, and real power in Fifth Form, no small boy had any reason to fear him, but neither could he be intimidated by his peers.
A consistent student, he maintained roughly fourth position in his class, his strength being chemistry and mathematics. In sports he played cricket and football for his house and was on the school rifle shooting team. He was a decorated Cadet, and also had a particular interest in scouting, where he rose to be a Patrol Leader. Perhaps influenced by Scouts and Cadets, it was noticeable that in a school where all boys had to wear clean shoes, Hutchinson’s shoes were always the shiniest in the whole school.
The Winding Road
In December 1951 Roy Hutchinson left Munro and worked for a short time in his father’s business. His ultimate desire was to pursue a career in law. For one year he worked at the Frome Sugar Estate where an older brother also worked. His father insisted that he rode a bicycle the six miles to work in the mornings and back in the evenings, even when it rained. His mother was rather sympathetic and would dry him off and administer the traditional Jamaican home remedy of rubbing him down with white rum to prevent him from getting a cold. He had to get to Frome by 7:30 in the mornings and he was never late. Another of his brothers, who was the heir apparent to the Hutchinson throne, had gone to Canada to study engineering with a view to returning to his father’s business, but he changed his mind and stayed in Canada. Then the older brother who worked at Frome also took flight to Canada. It was then that his father Ralph Hutchinson declared that someone must stay in the business and the mantle fell on Roy, so the field of law never got the benefit of his presence.
In lieu of reading for law, Roy was not content to just absorb his father’s knowledge, experience and wisdom by osmosis, but also read deeply and widely on business from books and periodicals. His father was the founder of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Roy was Secretary. When his father died in December 1964 Roy took full control of the business, which involved car sales (Buick & Chevrolet), auto parts, a mechanic shop and the landmark Texaco Service Station. Roy Hutchinson’s business flourished despite many pressures and he added a Negril Texaco in 2005. His was only the 4th service station with tyre & battery sales and a convenience store in Jamaica and it was 3rd in sales volume. He then added Home Electrix appliances to his business line.
As a Mannings old boy, Roy was active in its past student association. He started the Savana-la-Mar Rotary Club as Charter President and was President for three consecutive years. Not a man to hold position for the sake of position, he also launched the first drug awareness drive in Jamaica. He found time also for community development at Smithfield and for a literacy program before the JAMAL of the 1970s was launched.
In 1976 he became a director on the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) board chaired by Dr. Vin Lawrence. From 1972 to 1980 Roy was Chairman of Negril Area Planning Authority and during his incumbency the road to the Negril Lighthouse was itself lit, and telephone service and a community centre came to Negril.
Family and Faith
Roy married Delores Allen in July 1959 and they had two sons, Christopher and Kevin. Del ran a beauty shop in Roy’s building and later a franchise in Grand Lido. Roy is a strong Anglican and played a leading role in St. George’s church, Savana-la-Mar. He was chairman of the Property Committee, overseeing the repair of the pipe organ and reroofing the church after the hurricane of 2002. His Christian faith plays a leading role in his caring relationship with his customers, his staff, and all the organizations he handled or supported. His humility is legendary.
His sons Christopher and Kevin entered Munro in the mid nineteen seventies and Roy and Del became involved in the Munro Parents Teachers Association, where he assisted with multiple school fairs. Those fairs contributed to Munro in a general fashion until the auditorium effort got firmly underway and the fairs from 1977 on became wholly dedicated to the auditorium. Roy became the second Chairman of the Munro College Board of Governors in 1976. He executed that duty until 1993 and during that time, the foundation of the auditorium was laid, the steel frame erected, the roof cladding installed and the first awards ceremony was held under the shelter of the emerging auditorium in October 1989.
The evolution of the auditorium had no single person or organization where the buck stopped, and was a relay team effort. The main players were the visionary Richard B. Roper, Board chairman Roy Hutchinson, Trust chairman Jackie Minott, next headmaster Vernon Forbes, the architect Gladstone Fisher, and the late Laurie Sharp, who succeeded Roy as Board Chairman in 1993. The Richard B. Roper Auditorium was declared open by Sir Alistair McIntyre on 6th May 2000.
During the 1980s, Jamaica underwent economic structural adjustment and this caused hardship on all schools, but the hardship was even more intense on boarding institutions. With the experienced Richard Roper retired and a new headmaster facing the fire, Hutchinson slipped quietly and effectively into the role of Board Chairman. He could be seen motoring the 50 miles from Savana-la-Mar, arriving in the evening to pore over accounts and strategies with Forbes until 10:00 p.m. or later, and driving back at that ungodly hour. This was done once a week or twice when acute crises loomed.
When the stoves in the kitchen broke down Roy contacted fellow inductee Paul Stockhausen, who at the time was the CEO at Appliance Traders Limited, and Munro immediately received an 8- burner commercial stove. It was a strenuous time, being coupled with chairing the Board and running his own businesses and his numerous other activities, but with his guidance Munro survived the 1980s.
Roy Hutchinson also a Justice of the Peace since 1976 still holds that position. He served on the Board of Victoria Mutual starting in 1989, became Chairman in 2005, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2011. He sold his businesses in two phases, in 2010 and in 2016. Now retired, his vast experience and his helpful nature will no doubt keep him busy for the rest of his life.
For his life of dedicated service, he was made an Officer of the Order of Distinction by the Government of Jamaica in 1998. For the aforementioned reasons among others, Mr. Roy Navarro Hutchinson OD, JP, was proudly inducted into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame.