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photo of Cathy Hutchinson at Christmas time

Photo of Cathy Hutchinson
Died December 14, 2016

Cathy Hutchinson

Cathy Hutchinson, a well known disability advocate in West Virginia, died peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, December 14, 2016. She was on a mini-vacation with her friend and colleague, Anne Weeks, in Sugarcreek, Ohio. They had spent the day shopping in the Christmas store and sitting in the lodge watching the snow.

Cathy requested that instead of flowers, please make a donation to Mountain State Centers for Independent Living in remembrance of her work, and the work of her fellow disability advocates, to support people with disabilities.

Anne Weeks, President/CEO of Mountain State Centers for Independent Living said, "She was a special person who was a friend like no other. She provided wise counsel to other staff as well as unwavering support of me, both professionally and personally. So often people say she will be missed. I say Cathy will be remembered through all the lives of people with disabilities she touched who are now living independently, are employed, and are advocating for others in the disability community."

Cathy graduated from Marshall University in 2001 with a degree in Counseling. She started working at Mountain State Centers for Independent Living (MTSTCIL) in the Huntington office immediately after graduation. Cathy was most recently a Vocational Director at MTSTCIL. She was also a Community Resource Advocate, taught skills training classes, worked with consumers one-on-one, worked with the Community Living Services program, and was a Transition Specialist helping people in nursing homes transition to living on their own and helping people to stay in their own homes.

Cathy was also known for her delicious cooking and taught cooking in the Huntington office kitchen to people who were preparing to live on their own. For several years, Cathy prepared dinner for the Pi Kappa Phi, Journey of Hope bicycle teams, who came through every year as part of their fund raising event to provide financial support for organizations with disabilities.

Every January and February you could find Cathy making the rounds during legislative sessions in Charleston. She visited all her representatives and worked with other advocates to teach them how to advocate for themselves and their communities. She was well known in Charleston as a determined advocate and very quickly and easily made friends with new and seasoned representatives and received their respect and support in disability issues.

She was currently serving her second term as Chair of the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council and the Ron Yost Personal Assistance Services Board. She was a former Chair of the statewide Fair Shake Network.

Ann McDaniel, Executive Director of the WV Statewide Independent Living Council talked about Cathy: "As board chair for West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council and Ron Yost Personal Assistance Services since October 2015, Cathy was a valued member of both boards and an excellent chair. Her ability to always put the rights of people with disabilities first served her well in both these roles. Her passing leaves a void that will be difficult to fill in both our professional and personal lives".

Stephanie A Skolik, MD Cathy's retina specialist and the doctor that saved the sight in Cathy's right eye tells us: "She enriched us all with her indomitable spirit and unlimited capacity to accept people and love. What an unforgettable treasure."

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living