Peter Hutton was born in Harmony, Minnesota, on January 8, 1927, the oldest of six children born to Wallace and Helen Madson Hutton. Growing up on a farm, he was a member of the Scotland Community 4-H Club, raising and showing livestock at the Fillmore County Fair and later serving as president of the Harmony Chapter of the Future Farmers of America. In high school he participated in sports, played clarinet in the band, sang in the choir, glee club, and several operettas, and was in the cast of the junior and senior class plays. Peter learned to play guitar and accompanied the Harmony Harmonica Band in concerts.
After high school, Peter enrolled at the University of Minnesota College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics and majored in animal and plant industry. While at the university, he served as moderator of the Campus Westminster Fellowship, the college-aged program of the Presbyterian Church. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and helped organize a musical-comedy group called “Joe Banana and His Bunch—the music with a-peel,” drawing upon his guitar skills to accompany the vocals. Peter graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree and went on to the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.
Peter began his career as a Presbyterian minister with an ordination service accompanied by the bleating of a flock of sheep in a nearby pasture. He was ordained as a pastor in his home church, Scotland Presbyterian Church, in the rolling countryside of southeastern Minnesota, and after several pastorates in Wisconsin and Washington, he arrived in Corvallis in 1966 to serve Calvin Presbyterian Church.
Barbara Yoder was born January 6, 1933, in Williamsburg, Iowa, the youngest of four children born to Lewis and Emily Sorensen Yoder. She shares Peter’s love of music, and while at Williamsburg High School, Barbara was involved in choir, drama, and band and was selected to play flute in the Iowa All State Band. She enrolled at the University of Dubuque to study Elementary Education but kept her interest in music alive by singing in the a cappella choir that toured the Midwest states. She was also selected as a homecoming princess in her senior year.
Barbara met her future husband while waiting on tables in the commons cafeteria at the university. Rather than return an extra piece of pie to the kitchen, she gave it to a hungry young seminarian. Peter thought it was because she liked him and decided to pursue the acquaintance. Romance blossomed.
Both Peter and Barbara graduated on June 4, 1954, she with a Bachelor of Arts degree and he with a Master’s of Divinity. Graduation initiated a whirlwind of activity. The following weekend, June 13, they were married in Williamsburg, Iowa, at Barbara’s home church. The third weekend, Peter was ordained at his home church near Harmony, Minnesota, and the fourth weekend saw Peter installed as minister of the Presbyterian Church at Lodi and Waunakee, Wisconsin, near Madison.
The Huttons lived in Lodi for three years, where Barbara taught in the local elementary school. Peter joined Rotary and developed a new hobby: golf. Both became lifelong interests. The Rotary Club was small, and during his second year as a member, Peter was tapped to serve as president. He also joined the Lodi Legion Band, which played at civic events and parades in local and surrounding communities. In 1957, the Huttons moved west to Grandview, Washington, in the Yakima Valley, where Peter became the pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church. Throughout his career, Peter was active in Presbytery, and while at Grandview, he served as moderator of Walla Walla Presbytery. He was also president of the Grandview Ministerial Association and the Grandview Rotary Club. Shortly after the move to Grandview, daughter Elizabeth Jayne (Beth) was born, November 1, 1957. Daughter Julie Anne arrived June 16, 1959.
Barbara remained very active in church and community activities while raising the girls. She taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir, and worked in the Women’s Association. In the fall of 1965, the superintendent of the school district called and asked her to take a teaching position left vacant at the last minute. This renewed her interest in her career as a teacher.
After nine years in the Yakima Valley, the Huttons accepted an invitation to serve at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Corvallis. Peter was the pastor at Calvin until his retirement in 1987, and the following year he served as interim pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, commuting daily to and from Eugene.
After Peter spent 1989 as a house husband while Barbara was still teaching, John Dennis, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Corvallis, invited Peter to join the staff part-time to temporarily fill the position left by an associate pastor. While the position was intended to last only a few months, the association continued. In addition to worship services, Peter’s activities have included visiting hospitals, homes, retirement homes, and nursing homes, counseling, and teaching classes. Peter served as the last moderator of Willamette Presbytery before it merged into what is now called the Presbytery of the Cascades.
Peter’s other organizational involvements have included the Children’s Farm Home, YMCA, and VORP (Victim-Offenders Reconciliation Program). In the Rotary Club, he served several committee assignments, including Chairman of the Program Committee. He also edited Sparks, the Rotary newsletter, for several years.
When the Huttons moved to Corvallis, Barbara decided to go back to college to work on a master’s degree in extreme learning problems. She began teaching in special education with the Corvallis School district full-time in 1967 while attending Oregon College of Education in Monmouth part time. She received her master’s degree in 1970 and continued in special education for eight years. She then taught in the classroom at Adams and at Wilson Elementary Schools until June of 1991. Altogether, Barbara served the Corvallis School District for twenty-four years.
Barbara was very involved in the Corvallis Education Association, serving as building representative and as a delegate to the state representative council. Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a women’s education society, kept her busy for several years, more so since her retirement. She held the office of second vice president and corresponding secretary. She was also active with the Campfire Girls organization.
The Peter and Barbara Hutton Scholarship Fund was actually the brainchild of R.C. (Bob) Wilson and Mario Pastega, who gathered contributions to honor the Huttons with a fund established in their names for the benefit of Benton County students pursuing higher education.